Kochi: The state government has invoked the ‘urgency clause’ for the land acquisition of the Kochi Metro Rail project. The clause comes under the Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984. It provides the Collector with significant autonomy to take possession of the land for a public purpose, fast tracking on a number of procedures.
“Under the clause, the collector has the autonomy to provide a compensation above the market rate for the acquired land. This has to be approved by the Chief Secretary, but the procedure is fast. It also gives the Collector the autonomy to take up the land at the earliest,” said District Collector Sheik Pareeth.
But the Act has its share of controversies too. The Collector can, if the need arises, ‘take possession of any land’ needed for public purpose after giving a notice period of 15 days, brushing aside protests. The ‘urgency clause’ can be invoked at a time of a sudden change in the channel of any navigable river or other unforeseen emergency.
It becomes necessary for the Railway administration to immediately acquire the land for the maintenance of traffic or for the purpose of making a river-side ghat station or for providing convenient connection with or access to any such station. The clause can also be invoked when the appropriate govt considers it necessary to acquire the immediate possession of any land for the purpose of maintenance.