Chennai: Call it the heights of lethargy and poor administration. Non-cooperation of state officials for the much awaited mass rapid transit system project has resulted in a cost revision of over Rs 500 crore and as for rail connectivity between Velachery and Thomas Mount railway line is pending for eight years.
“The project was initially scheduled for completion in 2008 and this will be the longest-delayed project in the Chennai railway division”, said a Southern Railway official source adding that the entire project was initially estimated to cost around Rs 650 crore including the phase I and II, but now due to the inordinate delay the project cost escalated by Rs 300 crore and remember the project is incomplete with the state administration (Kancheepuram collectorate) yet to hand over the land required for completing the project, the official said adding a few litigations are also pending before the court regarding compensation.
“There is no clarity from the state in compensating the landowners who will be losing their patta lands to the railway project and the landowners who have already lost their property are still awaiting compensation,” said a resident of Vaanunvampettai whose land had been acquired.
“We the landowners are seeking revised compensation under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the state and railways are trying to exploit us and this led to litigation before the court. There was no problem when Chennai metro rail acquired land in Alandur as CMRL paid adequate compensation”, noted another victim of MRTS project.
When contacted, Kancheepuram district revenue officer Noor Mohammad on the status of the land acquisition, the officer said that the issue was pending before the court.
“However, considering the significance of public welfare project steps we will also examine if there are ways to acquire the controversial land in consensus with public”, the official added.
The proposed alignment of the MRTS phase two project is around 3.5 km from Velachery to Alandur. Mostly the alignment is along the Inner Ring Road (IRR). The remaining distance of about 700 meters is caught in land acquisition near Alandur and has been pending for last past eight years. The revised extension of the MRTS stretch was scheduled for 2016 but is likely to get delayed by another two years.