December 23, 2014 1:00:43 am
The city’s development authority has written to the Centre to notify a state government body as the competent authority for acquiring land for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.
This way, the process can be initiated under the central Metro Act and not under the new Land Acquisition Act.
U P S Madan, a director on the board of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC), said though the new Land Acquisition Act is currently not applicable to the Metro (Construction of Works) Act, under the latter only the Union Ministry of Urban Development is authorised to undertake land acquisition transactions.
Acquiring land for a complete right of way, or total ownership of land along the entire alignment of the corridor, and rehabilitating project-affected people is by itself a tedious process in congested Mumbai.
Delays in land acquisition was one of the major reasons why the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar elevated Metro corridor took longer than expected to construct. “Now, under the new Land Acquisition Act, acquiring land could be complicated and a cumbersome process. The first step while acquiring land under this Act is a social impact assessment through the district collector,” said Madan, also the metropolitan commissioner, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
He added: “The collector has to first engage an agency, which has to conduct an assessment and give its report, and then the process starts. If it is a major plot and a complicated case of acquisition, then we can understand having to follow this process, but for smaller plots it causes delay.”
Under the Metro Act, MMRC will have the independence to negotiate with landowners and acquire land as it can, making the entire process smoother and less time consuming, Madan said.
“So, we have written to the Union government, asking it to appoint either MMRC, MMRDA or the state urban development department as the competent authority for us to begin land acquisition for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro under the Metro Act,” he added.
The fully underground corridor, which is currently under tendering, is estimated to require 3.19 hectares of private land and 8.71 hectares of government land for stations and ancillary facilities.
The MMRC has submitted land acquisition proposals for the government land required to concerned state departments. Moreover, it has initiated dialogue with institutional and private landowners.
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