CHENNAI: The much-delayed phase II extension of Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) from Velachery to St Thomas Mount has received a further extension till March 2018 as per the revised plan, said sources. The earlier deadline was December 2016.
The deadline was revised as the project has been delayed over payment of compensation to land owners under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The State government issued a Order on February 11, 2011 to acquire land for the formation of railway line between Velachery and St Thomas Mount under the phase II extension project under Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The land price then was fixed at ` 2,272 per square feet and was sent to the Commissioner of Land Administration.
However, the interim award was announced only in September 2014, a delay which was allegedly caused by administrative reasons, by which time the new land acquisition Act came into existence.
This resulted in section of land owners approaching court, which directed the government to follow Section 40 (3) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and tender interim compensation to property owners.
Following this, the government agreed to pay 80 per cent of interim compensation to land owners by December 2015. This figure was arrived at by adding the land value estimated by the land acquisition officer along with 100 per cent solution compensation towards structure and trees.
As per the reworked calculation, the compensation for land acquisition from Velachery to St Thomas Mount has been worked out at `8.62 crore. Sources said the consolidated value per square feet as per new award works out to `4,629 per square feet to `5,094 per square feet, over double as that was fixed earlier.
After extension of the phase II was proposed and alignment fixed in 2008, only 3.7 km of the 5 km stretch of MRTS line has been completed so far. The authorities involved now have 15 more months till March 2018 to finish land acquisition and complete the project.