Thrikkunnapuzha: The Kerala Roads Fund Board has allocated Rs 97 lakh towards land acquisition for the construction of the Valiyazheekal bridge linking the Alappuzha and Kollam districts across the estuary. The bridge construction had been stalled over delay in compensating for land acquisition from the public. However, more funds are required to restart the construction of the Rs 140 crore bridge on Kerala's western coast.
The Rs 97 lakh now allocated is for acquiring land from seven people in Valiyazheekal village in Alappuzha district.
Another Rs 76 lakh is required for completing the land acquisition process at both Valiyazheekal and Azheekal which is beyond the estuary and falls in Kollam district. Of this Rs 40 lakh would go for the pending land acquisition costs at Valiyazheekal and the rest Rs 36 lakh would have to be paid to compensate four landowners at Azheekal in Kollam.
The Rs 97 lakh has been credited to the tehsildar's bank account. This amount has to be transferred to the account of the executive engineer of the Public Works Department, before being finally paid off as compensation to the land owners.
A delay in handing over the compensation to the land owners had led to protests in January 2019, bringing the construction works to a halt. Work could not be completed on the 200-metre of government land (poramboke) also. The bridge construction can resume only after the land owners have received the compensation.
The land to be acquired from two owners in Valiyazheekal would be used to build the approach road on the northern end. The four pieces of land to be acquired in Azheekal are also for constructing the approach road from the southern end. Once the approach road is laid, construction materials can be transported easily via road. The materials are currently being brought to the site through waterway from the harbour. This costs more labour and time.
The bridge when completed will span 1,200 metre, including the approach road. Estimated at a cost of Rs 140 crore, 65 per cent of the construction work has been completed so far.
The deadline for completing the bridge construction is December 2020.