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Chennai Metro Rail Land Acquisition – Rights vs Development?

By this time you would have read the news which says that Madras High Court has dismissed 40 petitions against land acquisition for MRTS extension. However, the court has not barred or restricted the petitioners from pursuing the various remedies available to the petitioner for fair compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation Act.

The next in the saga of land acquisition of land for development in Chennai would be for the construction of the phase 2 of Chennai Metro Rail. The Phase 1 of Chennai Metro was largely free from land acquisition due to the alignment of roads on existing large roads or on public land. But the phase 2 alignment seems like going all along the city. The Chennai Metro Rail on its part has already listed the alignment of Metro Rail Phase 2 route on its website. This would give everybody a clear indication of where land will be acquired.

Phase 1 of metro stayed clear of large prolonged acquisition due to the alignment of the same being largely along roads with sufficient width and usage of most land belonging to government agencies. Very little was acquired and it was done very fast. Thanks to the must praise efforts of bureaucrats like TV Somanathan who was at the helm during that period, work in phase 1 never stopped due to litigation.

Where is the land being acquired

The land is being acquired from 3 corridors in Phase 2. Most of the land is likely to acquired near the stations.

Corridor 3 has 42 stations starting from Madhavaram Colony and ends in Sholinganallur. Corridor 4 starts from Lighthouse and ends in Meenakshi College and has 11 stations. Corridor 5 starts from Madhavaram and ends in CMBT and has 18 stations. A total of approximately 800 properties (Corridor 3 & 5) have been identified so far for acquisition. In corridor 4 an additional of 600 properties may be identified. The areas for stations and depots have been identified so that most of the areas are owned by the Government to keep the cost low. A senior official familiar with the matter said “Land belonging to MTC, Aavin, Corporation, Highways, and other Government Institutions have been identified and departmental requests have been sent.

A total of 105.53.54 hectares is being acquired across the districts of Chennai, Kanchipuram, and Thiruvallur. The split of the land between government and private across districts is:

ChennaiKanchipuramThiruvallurTotal
Government Land7.55.1812.06.0822.29.9141.91.17
Private Land14.27.017.25.5242.09.8463.62.37
Total Land21.82.1919.31.6064.39.75105.53.54

Table: Extent of Land to be acquired in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur Districts

What does the Law on Land Acquisition Say

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2015 and the subsequent amendment is the basis of interpretation when land acquisition is done for various purposes. The act was amended in 2017 with the following changes.

  1. The 80% clause is not applicable. if the projects are of the following type: The 80% clause is not applicable. if the projects are of the following type: The 80% clause is not applicable. if the projects are of the following type: The 80% clause is not applicable. if the projects are of the following type:
    1. National Security
    2. Defense
    3. Rural infrastructure & electrification
    4. Industrial corridor
    5. Housing for poor including PPP where ownership of land continues to rest with the government.
  2. The compensation to be paid for urban areas is 2 times the market price and 4 times for rural areas.

What can Chennai Land Owners Expect?

Based on the feedback from lawyers on Kanoon, you can expect a price of twice the market value as compensation with maybe little variations accounting for the value of building, trees or any structure on the land. Value may vary also taking into account the type of activity and the existing land use. The collector fixes the rate after discussion with the various stakeholders.

According to the act the following can be claimed as an entitlement if you belong to the Scheduled Tribe / Scheduled Caste.

  1. Land up to 0.4 Hectare for agricultural, horticultural, cattle grazing field per family shall be provided.
  2. Provision of dwelling housing unit per family, drinking water facility, toilet etc.,
  3. One time financial assistance of one lakh fifty thousand rupees per family shall be given.
  4. For landless laborers employment shall be provided under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme or/and any other job providing Scheme of the Government,
  5. Skill development through different training programs for the youth of affected family.
  6. Subsistence grant for displaced family equivalent to three thousand rupees per month for a year from the date of award.
  7. For cattle shed and petty shop, minimum twenty five thousand rupees.
  8. Alternative fuel, fodder and non-timber forest produce resources on no-forest land, for affected members of Scheduled Castes.
  9. Fishing Rights.