No clarity on procedure in Govt’s Order for purchase of land directly: Kochi Metro

कोची Kochi: Amid criticism that Kochi Metro rail project was delayed due to land acquisition hurdles, the state government had allowed Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to purchase land directly from the owners. But the government order issued last week lacks clarity on the procedures to be adopted while purchasing land. Also there is confusion whether the registration fee and stamp duty will be waived off. Due to this, the revenue officials are unable to start procedures to acquire the remaining land required for the Metro project.

On April 29, the state government had given a special permit to KMRL to purchase around nine hectares of land directly from landowners. But officials with the revenue department are still unsure whether a meeting of the district level purchase committee (DLPC) and state-level empowered committee (SLEC) should be convened for fixing price of the land. Avoiding them will save time.

“There is a meeting with KMRL managing director and revenue secretary on May 17 wherein we will discuss the guidelines to be followed while purchasing land directly from the owners. Then there will clarity on the procedures to be followed,” said district collector M G Rajamanickam.

Normally for purchasing land, 7% of the land value should be paid as stamp duty in rural areas whereas it is 8% and 9% in municipal and corporation areas respectively. Moreover, 2% of the land value should be paid as registration fee. There were suggestions that stamp duty and registration fees should be waived for the land purchased for metro rail project.

“KMRL managing director Elias George has written to the state government seeking tax waiver for the land purchased for the project. We expect that the government will soon take a decision,” Rajamanickam said. It is up to the registration department to give waiver on registration fee and stamp duty.

Earlier, land acquisition for coach repair yard of the metro rail was hit after landowners raised a protest sine there was a delay in providing their compensation. Of the 40 hectares required for the viaduct and stations of the Metro, around 31 hectares have already been acquired. Then the new Land Acquisition Act introduced by the Union government in January this year had obstructed the acquisition process. For avoiding the complications resulted by the new act, the state government had allowed KMRL to purchase land directly from landowners.