Kochi: A major hurdle in completing the track doubling work in Kottayam section is over with the state government issuing a gazette notification to acquire the remaining 3.5 hectares of land spread over three villages in Athiranpuzha, Perumbaikadu and Muttambalam.
The district collector has been empowered to initiate procedures like assessment of land value, negotiation with owners and acquiring plots at 'ponnum vila' (premium price) as a last resort as per the 'Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.'
"We're working overtime to acquire and hand over the land to the railways so that track doubling work will be finished at the earliest. The social impact study was held, a committee formed thereafter and the notification issued quickly. We'll start document inspection and enter the last stage (compensation provision) as early as possible under the law," said P.K. Sudheer Babu, Kottayam district collector.
The state government has appointed the deputy collector (land acquisition, Kottayam), for hastening up land acquisition to facilitate track doubling work in the 18.4-km-long Chingavanam-Ettumanoor section.
As per the original plan, the required land should have been handed over by May 31, 2018 in line with the railway target to complete doubling in the 115-km Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section by March 2020. So far, doubling was completed in 96 km of the section.
Meanwhile, a senior railway construction official told DC that it would take another two years for the doubling work to be completed once the required land is handed over to them.
"We've started the work of laying a new open bridge line (from Kottayam towards south) instead of two old tunnels.
The initial plan to build another tunnel was dropped after the topography was found not suitable. A railway overbridge will be built for nearly one km for replacing the tunnels which will be used as shunting sheds," the official said....