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Prime Minister to monitor select railway projects in Tamil Nadu

MRTS Phase-II extension from Velachery to St Thomas Mount,  long-forgotten Tindivanam-Nagari to get a boost.

Published: 20th August 2017 01:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2017 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Nearly a decade after getting stuck over land acquisition issues, the Second Phase Extension of Mass Rapid Transit System from Velachery to St Thomas Mount is finally set to get the much-needed boost after being listed among the projects the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will monitor from now.

The five-six projects that the Prime Minister will review through video-conferencing under Pragati (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) programme includes the Tindivanam-Nagari railway line, which was forgotten after the foundation stone was laid 10 years ago, said sources. This, sources added, highlighted the urgency the Centre has accorded to incomplete projects that are bleeding the State exchequer.

The five-km MRTS second phase, for instance, which is stuck for nine years over acquiring 6,550 sq metres of private land, has seen cost escalate to Rs 732.89 crore from the original estimate of Rs 495.74 crore in April 2008. What could have been an important route for the thousands commuting to the city was stalled over acquiring the land, which hit a 1.5 km long standalone segment.

While the Madras High Court decided in favour of the State government, the authorities are stumbling over the compensation to be paid under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

As the newly worked out interim compensation based on land price fixed by the special tahsildar was lower than the land price fixed earlier, the land owners have sought the intervention of the high court once again.

It is now for the Centre and State to break the stalemate in the project, which is crucial for multimodal integration linking MRTS with metro and suburban railway.

In the case of Tindivanam-Nagari railway line, the foundation stone was laid at Ranipet railway station in 2007. The 184-km broad gauge line, which proposed to connect the interior parts of the northern districts and facilitate additional railway line to Puducherry, was to pass through Villupuram, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvallur districts, and also Chitoor in AP.

The project cost, which was initially estimated at Rs 498 crore, is expected to soar to Rs 650 crore.The other projects reviewed under the Pragati initiative include Smart City Mission.  Chennai and Coimbatore, selected under the first round of Smart City Mission, have completed less than one per cent of projects.

Rs 1,025 cr project delay under review

The delay in implementation of the Rs 1,025 crore transmission project associated with independent power producers of Nagapattinam/ Cuddalore area is also being reviewed

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