Delay: Whom to blame?

Published: 23rd September 2010 12:50 AM

THIRUVANATHAPURAM: It is turning out to be another case of the complainant becoming the accused. The real culprits behind the delay in land acquisition are none other than the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), TRIDA and  PWD. Lack of will and initiative on the part of these government agencies is the real reason behind the inordinate delay in taking over the remaining land for the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP).

 Responding to the Expresso reports on Monday and Tuesday, officials and owners of the properties which are accused of acting as hurdles for road-widening said they still don’t have a clear idea on what has to be done for handing over the land. In most of the areas, the land owners had agreed to the compensation amount, but the government agencies were dilly-dallying.

 The area belonging to the Secretariat Association near the Cantonment police station was handed over to the government five months ago. But, there has been no step to take over the land and redefine the boundary of the building.

 According to the general secretary of Secretariat Association Irshad, around two cents of land had been transferred to the government for the CRIP works five months ago. The issue of the adjacent area of the Cantonment police station too was sorted out. KRFB officials too confirmed giving payment for the land. However, the files of approval have not moved yet.

 Displacement of traders is cited as the hurdle in widening the MG Road. The KRFB officials said that TRIDA had the responsibility of  displacing the traders at East Fort. Several new buildings are cropping up in the area, but the TRIDA is doing nothing. The government went a step ahead by constructing a building for Supplyco’s People’s Bazaar in the area.

 However, the General Manager of People’s Bazaar, Rajan, said that he was unaware of the decision to acquire land for road works.

 Prime land owned by PWD at PMG has been set aside as compensation for land acquired from four areas belonging to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). According to KRFB officials, a lot of issues, including a High Court directive, need to be sorted out regarding the land of TDB and the decision was pending with the government.  The KRFB says it it just a facilitator and the government must take a final decision.

 Still, the KRFB officials expressed the hope of completing the Phase II works by December. “Land acquisition issue is a hurdle in  four-five areas. But works progressing in other areas will be completed by September-November. By December, all roads under Phase II will be completed,” KRFB COO Harikesh said.

 Will the government agencies make the final punch at least in November, after the local body polls?

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