PALAKKAD: After the Vayalkkilikal agitation and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal’s statement questioning Kerala’s lack of will to acquire land for development hit the headlines, the state government is in the cusp of a major acquisition, mostly agricultural lands, for linking Kochi with the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor project.
Other than in Ernakulam and Thrissur, it is proposed to acquire 307 acres of land in Block 36 of Kannampra I village of Palakkad, with the process already reaching the negotiable purchase stage. The corridor’s aim is to accelerate the movement of goods to bolster trade between South India and East Asia.
“The Palakkad district collector had called us for talks in February. The average price of land value for which registrations had taken place in a 5-km area in the past three years was worked out.
An additional 60-100 per cent of it will be given as compensation. However, the basic price was calculated as Rs 20,000 per cent based on the registration value and therefore we refused to surrender our lands,” said James Parayil, president of the Karshaka Kootayma comprising 155 farmers who will be losing their lands.
He added the farmers’ group has now collected the registration value of the land in the area, which was between Rs 30,000 and Rs 2.44 lakh per cent. Therefore, the average price to be given to each of us will be in the vicinity of Rs 2 lakh per cent.
“Apart from paddy fields, there are coconut and arecanut groves and rubber plantations. Our lands at Marygiri, Panthalampadam and Kallingalpadam are fertile with abundant water availability. Local MLA and Minister A K Balan said the Centre had allotted a Rs 2,000-crore package. Therefore, we expect a reasonable compensation,” added James.
PALAKKAD: Kannampra panchayat president Rejimon said, “The offer of compensation is lucrative and nearly all farmers are willing to surrender.”KSIDC Kochi assistant general manager Binil said, “We have already appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as consultant for preparing a master plan for the corridor in Kerala. It is also chalking out a perspective plan for developing sites including Kannampra I village as an integrated manufacturing cluster with all infrastructural facilities. It will be ready in a few months.”
Special Tahsildar (LA) Jayarajan said, “The administrative sanction was to acquire 470 acres in Palakkad district of which 307 acres will be in Kannampra I village. The process began one year ago. The District-Level Purchasing Committee will meet next week to conclude the purchase agreement.
If there are differences, we’ll have to adopt the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and close the deal.”The industrial corridor is an infrastructure project of the Central government.