THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Concerns over the extent of land acquisition and a fear of displacement dominated the first public hearing relating to the environmental impact study of the Outer Ring Road project connecting Mangalapuram, Thekkada and Vizhinjam. The hearing, held at the collectorate on Wednesday, was attended by 250 people, either landowners or the representatives of those who would be directly affected by the project.
A senior officer who was part of the hearing told TNIE that though it was called to discuss the environmental impact of the project, people were more concerned about land acquisition. “All feedback, including suggestions and apprehensions, have been recorded and will be mentioned in the draft report that would be submitted to the expert committee of the Capital Region Development Programme (CRDP), the implementing agency for the project.
The expert committee will decide on the environment clearance based on the findings in the report. If the committee gives clearance, we will call the next hearing for social impact. The project will be implemented only after allaying the fears of the people who need to surrender land,” the official said.
He said land will be acquired avoiding regions with high population density. “Also, the alignment of the road is yet to be finalised,” he said.
The district administration is also planning to conduct an awareness programme to ensure that people’s concerns are addressed. Additional District Magistrate E Muhammed Safeer, who chaired the meeting, said the first hearing was lively, thoughtful and productive, and provided a platform for general feedback from the public on the project.
Meanwhile, the state government is yet to approve the detailed project report for the ring road project submitted by the expert committee. The `4,868-crore project -- the road starting from Parippally in Kollam, and passing through Andoorkonam, Vattappara, Aruvikkara, Ooruttambalam, Balaramapuram and the NH 66 bypass at Vizhinjam -- received the Centre’s in-principle approval in 2019. Logistic, IT/ITeS, media or entertainment, and rehabilitation zones are also planned to be set up.
Masterplan getting ready
According to the CRDP website, the project’s master development plan is being prepared and the approval from departments including NHAI is awaited. The proposal documents selecting the consultant for peer review.
The road starts from Parippally and passes through Andoorkonam, Vattappara, Aruvikkara, Ooruttambalam, Balaramapuram and reaches Vizhinjam