Confusion envelops the proposed Outer Ring Road in Kerala, residents protest
Earlier, there were reports that the government would give ‘market value’ for the properties.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Confusion prevails among a larger section of residents who needs to concede their land for the proposed Outer Ring Road in the capital. According to them, there’s no clarity about the project’s alignment or the compensation amount, and neither the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) nor the state government is giving clear answers.
Earlier, there were reports that the government would give ‘market value’ for the properties. However, residents have expressed concern that nothing has been communicated to them thus far. Meanwhile, some residents also alleged that the government did not inform them about public hearings.
In the wake of this, the residents have formed action councils in protest against the state government’s apathy in taking a final decision on the compensation amount. In May, K Raveendran Nair, a resident of Aruvikkara panchayat and a professor, filed a Right to Information (RTI) application to the NHAI to give an update about the alignment.
In reply, on June 27, the NHAI gave a vague response stating that the detailed project report (DPR) is in progress. “If the DPR is still in progress, how could the Revenue Department acquire land now? The acquisition work should be stopped. It is also clear that neither the NHAI nor the state government has any clarity on the alignment,” Raveendran said.
He had also asked for the details of the Social Impact Assessment Study report and the land acquisition proceedings. However, the NHAI dismissed that request citing how those documents could only be shared after completing the DPR, Raveendran added.
Unscientific alignment? Protests on
At Puthusserimukku near Kallambalam, the residents have been protesting for the past 140 days against the alleged unscientific alignment of the ORR project. Ansal, the chairman of the Puthusserimukku action council, said authorities had fixed the alignment with demarcating stones through the densely populated areas. “At the time of the project’s announcement, the government said that there would only be minimal displacement of people. But the alignment was changed. Now, the demarcation is done through areas where more than 100 families are residing. There are also 2-3 temples along this way,” Ansal pointed out.
Compensation amount not disclosed
An action council has also been formed at Kilimanoor, which comprises the residents of Chenkikunnu in Koduvazhannoor village. It submitted a memorandum on Thursday to the Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, seeking his intervention on the compensation issue. In the memorandum, it is alleged that the revenue officers are not disclosing the amount for compensation and keeping it a secret.
“The revenue authorities have already collected the title deeds to our properties. They have not kept their promise to discuss the compensation amount before collecting the title deeds. We are really concerned about the amount. Kilimanoor-Alamcode Road is a state highway (SH-46). So the properties in the area are worth at least Rs 20 lakh per cent. Moreover, the state government has assured market value for the land. But it is being heard that the government will give only fair value. This cannot be accepted,” said K B Rajagopal, the convener of the Kilimanoor action council, who also added that they are not against development.
The action council also warned that they will only concede the land if the government sheds more light on the matter, especially regarding the compensation amount and the alignment. The council has planned strong protests in the coming days.
DPR in progress
Meanwhile, Deba Prasad Sahoo, the project director of NHAI, told TNIE that as per the RTI Act, the NHAI could not give information to the public until the DPR was complete. “The DPR of the project is still in progress, and the proceedings of land acquisition are still on. So, as per the RTI Act, we cannot reveal the information until the report is complete,” Sahoo said.
The social impact assessment study for the project was completed three years ago, said the former NHAI project director. On the compensation dispensation, a top revenue official said that the state government had not yet finalised the compensation amount. “We are in the initial process of land acquisition. Once we enter the next phase, we will finalise the amount, whether fair vlue or market value. However, the government will take a decision soon in this regard,” the official said.
Pipeline laying: Traffic deviation at Anayara
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