Madras HC gives green light for Salem highway land acquisition

Chennai: The Madras High Court today allowed land acquisition for the eight-lane Chennai-Salem green corridor project, dismissing a petition filed by an NGO to prevent possession of farm lands.

The non-governmental organisation, Poovulagin Nanbargal, had filed the petition against land acquisition for the project under section 105 of the 2013 government rule.

“They had stated that the proposed project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore. For that land is being acquired from people from Chennai to Salem. However, there is a rule that the opinion of people must be asked within 21 days of the announcement of the project but the government has failed to do so. There are also other factors that impede people’s rights,” said the petition.

The Madras High Court bench, comprising of justices Seshasayee and T S Sivagnanam, ruled that there was no need to seek public opinion to go ahead with the project. They also stated that the directive of the case will not be applicable to other cases filed opposing the Salem eight-lane expressway.

There have been a series of protests from the people, especially farmers, ever since the project was announced. A pet project of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, it would enhance movement of traffic and goods on the Chennai-Salem and reduce travel time, it is said.

Earlier, the Madras High Court had restrained the Centre and Tamilnadu government from dispossessing people of their lands to be acquired for the Rs 10,000 crore highway project until further orders.

NT Bureau