Tamil Nadu Govt gives nod to acquire land for Tindivanam-Nagari Railway project

TIRUVANNAMALAI: A decade after laying the foundation stone for the 170.20 km Tindivanam (Tamil Nadu)-Nagari (Andhra Pradesh) broad gauge railway line project, the state government has issued an administrative sanction (AS) to acquire land in Vellore and Tiruvannamalai district for the project.

The ministry of revenue gave the nod for land acquisition for the project in Cheyyar sub-division in Tiruvannamalai recently. The officials have prepared to acquire 251.94 hectares of land in 33 villages – five in Arni, 15 in Vandavasi and 13 in Cheyyar – and to transfer 56.41 hectares of government poramboke land in Cheyyar sub-division to lay the broad gauge line for 63.01 km out of 170 km.

The government, according to the GO, has also directed the Vellore collector for the acquisition of 175.78 hectares of land and transfer of 34.18 hectares of government poramboke land in 25 villages in Arcot and Walajah taluks in the district.

The GO has been passed under Section 17 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. “We received the AS four weeks ago and commenced the work to acquire the land,” said a reliable source.

The Rs 450-crore project was designed to extend rail connectivity to the rural pockets of the northern district. After the approval of the planning commission, the then Union minister of state for railways, R Velu, had laid the foundation stone for the project at Ranipet railway station in 2007.

It was aimed to bring Vandavasi and Cheyyar taluks in Tiruvannamalai district, Arcot in Vellore district and Pallipattu taluk in Thiruvallur district on the map of the Indian Railways. However, the project was put in cold storage due to financial crunch.

The delay in implementing the project has drastically increased the project cost from Rs 450 crore to over Rs 600 crore, said officials of the Southern Railway.

“After the tenure of R Velu, the railway project did not take off and slowly faded away from the memories of the officials,” said former MLA of Arcot Elavazhagan.

He added that a bridge was constructed across Palar at a cost of around Rs 30 crore in 2011-12. A railway station building was constructed at Ranipet as part of the project and the line between Walajah Junction Road and Ranipet was renewed at around Rs 20 crore, but to no avail.

An official said the central government had announced a little over Rs 100 crore since 2011 in the Union railway budgets for the project. However, the fund was not allocated as expected and the project never took off.