Kochi: The railways has incurred a seven per cent cost escalation in carrying out track doubling works in the 18.4 km long ChingavanamEttumanoor section due to inordinate delay on the part of state government in acquiring and handing over nearly 3.5 hectares of land.
The government had in January 2018 promised the railways to hand over the land by May 31, 2018, in line with the railway's target to complete doubling in the Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section by March 2020.
With the land acquisition process getting delayed by nearly a year, the railway construction department has asked Kottayam district administration to complete the process in maximum three months, citing increasing expenditure.
"The plots yet to be acquired are in the Meenachil (northern end)- Muttambalam (southern side) section, where complex construction activities including that of bridge and demolition of tunnels fall,"a senior railway officer said.
"The contractors are demanding increased rates for the works citing rise in raw-material costs."
According to him, it will take another two years for the completion of track doubling works once the district authorities handed over the land. Currently doubling in the remaining 96-kms of total 115-km Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section has been completed with the commissioner of railway safety (southern circle) set to inspect eight-km long KuruppantharaEttumanur reach on Friday.
However, Kottayam district collector P.K. Sudheer Babu said the land acquisition process will be completed in two months time.
"We're working overboard to complete the process," he said. "The plots are acquired as per the new land acquisition law. We expect the social impact study report by an expert team, as mandated by the law, in two weeks.
Thereafter a committee will be formed and the notification issued. The whole process is expected to be over in two months."