Land acquisition up to Vyttila for Kochi Metro to be fast tracked

Kochi: Land acquisition of a few plots on the Maharaja’s College Ground-Vyttila stretch in the Kochi Metro corridor will be fast tracked, since delay in handing over land to civil contractors is hampering the pace of work.

This was decided at a land acquisition review meeting held here on Monday. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) will also begin the tendering process for widening Vyttila–Pettah Road into four lane in a week’s time. All tendering formalities will be completed by the time land is acquired by June end, sources in the metro agency said.

“It was also decided to make a concerted effort to speed up land acquisition in Jos Junction-Ernakulam Junction railway station-Manorama Junction and Vyttila-Pettah corridors (part of metro’s reach 2) so that work to convert the two stretches into four-lane roads can commence by June end,” said Elias George, MD of KMRL.

The major plots that have to be taken over on the stretch include land owned by Kochi Corporation near Ernakulam Junction railway station for building a metro station, land from the railway station to Manorama Junction, FACT land, service road on northern side of Ernakulam South overbridge and Railway Cooperative Society land.

A few traders in Jos Junction-railway station stretch are refusing to vacate their premises, citing ‘inadequate compensation’, though State government agreed to pay them Rs. 52 lakh per cent of land. KMRL and District Administration have reportedly worked out a strategy to ensure fast and smooth takeover of land.

With State government citing paucity of funds, KMRL had obtained a Rs. 470-crore loan from Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank for compensating and rehabilitating land owners, especially in Jos Junction-Pettah stretch.

The metro agency and DMRC are keen on completing a lion’s share of civil works before the onset of monsoon by May end. Constructing Pachalam overbridge as part of metro’s preparatory works, too, is long overdue. District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam, too, was present at the meeting.