Land acquisition for Vallarpadam road, rail link by Nov 1

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Kochi, Oct 19 (UNI) Land acquisition to provide rail and road connectivity for the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), near here, will be completed by November one, it was decided at a high-level meeting here today.

The meeting, presided over by State Revenue Minister K P Rajendran, decided the Land Acquisition Act would be invoked in cases where the negotiated purchase scheme was not working.

Others who attended the meeting included State Fisheries Minister S Sarma, Cochin Port Trust Chairman N Ramachandran and Ernakulam District Collector A P M Mohammad Haneesh.

Talking to UNI after the meeting, Mr Haneesh said today's meeting had cleared the way for the district administration to go ahead with the land acquisition.

''A blank cheque has been given to the administration to go ahead with the land acquisition and we are hopeful the task would be completed before November one and the land handed over to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd,'' he added.

Of the 110 acre of land to be acquired for the four-lane Highway to Vallarpadam, 96 acre had already been acquired or were in the last stages of acquisition.

The remaining 14 acre would be taken over under the Land Acquisition Act, Mr Haneesh said.

Of the 8.86 hectare needed for the rail link, no acquisition had been made so far as the people were not willing to give up their land despite being offered the best rehabilitation package offered for a project of this kind in the country, he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the Vallarpadam ICTT in 2005. As per the agreement signed with Dubai Ports Authority, which had won the bid to set up the ICTT, the Indian agencies have to set up the rail and road connection and carry out the necessary dredging work as prerequisites for the project.

UNI

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