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Madras High Court quashes move to acquire land

The 277-km project is part of the Centre’s ambitious “Bharatmala Pariyojana – I”, which involves laying of around 35,000 kms of national highways before 2022.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2019 23:48 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Madras High Court,Bharatmala Pariyojana,Chennai-Salem greenfield 8-lane Expressway
One of the petitioners against the project is Anbumani Ramadoss, MP of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which has joined hands with the AIADMK-BJP combine for the Lok Sabha polls that begin on April 11.

The Madras High Court on Monday quashed land acquisition proceedings as well as a government order (GO) for the Rs 10,000-crore Chennai-Salem greenfield 8-lane Expressway project, passing through farmlands and reserved forest.

The 277-km project is part of the Centre’s ambitious “Bharatmala Pariyojana – I”, which involves laying of around 35,000 kms of national highways before 2022. With an outlay of ~5,35,000 crore, this was aimed at decongesting six national corridors. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling party in the state, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), have been strong votaries of the expressway, running close to Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s native Edappadi town in Salem district.

One of the petitioners against the project is Anbumani Ramadoss, MP of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which has joined hands with the AIADMK-BJP combine for the Lok Sabha polls that begin on April 11.

Land acquisition for the project, for which the government order was issued in February last, resulted in massive protests by farmers in five districts—Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Thiruvannamalai, and Kancheepuram. Green activists too joined them as the project threatened the ecologically sensitive Kalrayan hill range of the Eastern Ghats. Quashing the land acquisition proceedings and striking down the GO, a division bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan held that environmental clearance was mandatory for the project which would have an adverse impact on forest cover and water bodies. The bench also rejected the project feasibility report by a consultant, dismissing it as a mere a “cut and paste” work.

First Published: Apr 08, 2019 23:48 IST