Madras HC strikes down Chennai-Salem 8-lane highway project

Madras High Court

Chennai: The Madras High Court has stayed the operation of the government order on the 8-lane Chennai-Salem highway plan.

Delivering the judgement this morning, the two-judge bench said the government had not done proper planning before launching the project.

The court, staying the acquisition of farmlands to executive the highway project, enumerated five reasons for stopping it.

It said no proper environmental appraisal was done for the project that would affect the livelihood of farmers.

Another reason stated for striking down the project was that the government had not given serious thought to the socio-economic problems of the people, which included disturbing the ecological conditions through the project that covers five districts.

The court found fault with the way the government planned to acquire lands, including fertile farmlands, and stayed the acquisition plan.

Anbumani Ramadoss

The judges said the people had also not been consulted for the execution of the project and that they had not been taken into confidence.

The verdict today could be seen as a setback to the Edappadi Palaniswami government as the Chief Minister had been insisting at every party rally that the 8-lane project would be implemented. The twist in the tale is that the case was filed in court by PMK candidate Anbumani Ramadoss, who is now contesting the general elections in the AIADMK alliance from Dharmapuri.

Other NGOs and farmers had also petitioned the court to stop the implementation of the 8-lane highway.

The court had reserved judgement in the case and it was announced Saturday that the verdict would be spelt out Monday.

NT Bureau