You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

SC refuses to stay HC order quashing of land acquisition for Salem-Chennai green corridor project


Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court Monday refused to stay the Madras High Court order which quashed the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000-crore Salem-Chennai eight-lane green corridor project.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and M R Shah however issued notices to the parties including the Tamil Nadu government on the appeal of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), an autonomous agency of the central government which has challenged the high court order.

"We are going to issue notices on the special leave petition (SLP)... We are not going to stay the high court's order," it said, while declining the plea of the Project Implementation Unit of NHAI that the high court's order be stayed.

NHAI had moved the top court on May 31 and the bench had then agreed to hear the appeal.

The high court had held that the environmental clearance was mandatory for the sensitive project.

The high court's order had come on a batch of petitions filed by 35 land owners and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss. The pleas had challenged the land acquisition proceedings.

The high court had made clear that grant of prior environmental clearance would undoubtedly require a thorough study of the area and before that, a public hearing was needed to be conducted.

The ambitious 277.3-km-long eight-lane greenfield project connecting Salem and Chennai under the Centre's 'Bharatmala Pariyojana' scheme aims to cut travel time between the two cities by half to about two hours and 15 minutes.

However, it has been facing opposition from a section of locals, including farmers, over fears of losing their land, besides environmentalists who are against felling trees for it.

The project runs through reserve forest and water bodies.

"We are of the considered view that the project highway as conceived and sought to be implemented is vitiated on several grounds... and consequently, the notifications issued for acquisition of lands under Section 3A(1) (of the National Highways Act) are liable to be quashed," the high court said.

It also held as "unsatisfactory" the project report of a consultant and said it needed to be scrapped.

It said unless a proper study was made, the impact on the forest lands, water bodies, wildlife, flora and fauna cannot be assessed.

Environmental clearance was mandatory since the project would have an adverse impact on the environment, including water bodies, it said.

If the project highway was to pass through reserve forest area, even if it is to a distance of about 10 km, it would undoubtedly pave the way for poachers and facilitate easy access, the hight court said, adding that it would also pave way for illicit felling and transportation of valuable timber.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, June 03 2019. 17:55 IST