After much uncertainty, the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has finally decided to set up its satellite facility at Thavinjal panchayat, near here.
The planning officer of the institute has visited the Glen Leven Estate located near Thalappuzha, and expressed his satisfaction over the proposed 75 acres of land. The report will be handed over to the medical director within a couple of weeks. The authorities are hoping to complete the survey of land by January 2013.
The proposed 75 acres will be acquired from the following plots of land: 24.97 acres under survey number 5/2, 5.16 acres under 5/3, 46.5 acres under 174/1A and 18.75 acres of land under survey number 174/1B1.
The proposal to set up a branch of the SCTIMST in the district had landed in troubled waters due to delay in land acquisition. The government had zeroed in on an estate under the Priyadarshini Tea Plantations in Lakkidi, but had to drop the idea at the last moment after some tribal organisations came out strongly against the land acquisition.
Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Youth Affairs P K Jayalakshmi had written a letter to the chief minister saying that acquisition of private land for the purpose would lead to corruption.
There were allegations that political and real estate lobbies were behind the move to acquire private land instead of government land to set up the project.
The land in Lakkidi had received the Cabinet approval and the government was ready to go ahead with the project. But the project had been in limbo after the government’s decision to find another suitable location. On August 17, it was decided to drop the plan to acquire the land in Lakkidi and to focus on Glen Leven Estate after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s meeting with representatives of tribal organisations and people’s representatives failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
The leaders of the tribal organisations maintained their stance that the estate had been started for rehabilitating bonded tribal people and it should not be used for other purposes.
“Now, we will speed up the process to commence work on the project. All the procedural complexities and policy hurdles will be removed to make this mega project a reality,” M I Shanavas MP told ‘Express’.
“We hope that the foundation stone for the project could be laid within a couple of months,” he added.
The 100-crore project will be completed in three phases over a period of three to five years.