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Won't snatch away lands for expressway project, assures Palaniswami

His statement comes days after SC refused to stay the Madras High Court order quashing the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane green corridor project

Press Trust of India  |  Salem (TN) 

Palaniswami
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami | Photo: @ANI

Batting for the Salem-Chennai expressway, chief minister Friday assured that land meant for the project "will not be snatched away" from their owners and the matter will be discussed with them.

His statement comes days after the Supreme Court refused to stay the Madras High Court order quashing the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane green corridor project.

The Centre has proposed the project considering factors like promoting further industrialisation in the region, even as many of the highways in the state were laid 15-20 years ago, Palaniswami said after inaugurating a flyover here.

Since 2001, the vehicle population has grown 100 per cent, which has prompted the Centre to propose modern roads, he said.

"The Centre had taken steps to implement this project to promote more industries in this developing region. But, the matter is in court due to some issues. Steps will be taken to hold talks with the landowners and convince them (about the project and parting with land)," the chief minister said.

"This is a central scheme, not the state government's. As far as the state government is concerned, our intention is not to impose (a project) and snatch away (lands or other property)," he said.

Earlier too, Palaniswami had insisted the project was a Central government one and that the state was only assisting in its implementation.

The expressway, when completed, will help unhindered movement of heavy vehicles between western cities like Salem, Coimbatore and Erode and even up to neighbouring Kerala, he said on Friday.

It should not be construed that the road was meant for "Edappadi Palaniswami," he said, referring to himself.

Such road projects were aimed at preventing accidents, minimise travel time, reduce fuel consumption and protect the environment, the chief minister added.

Palaniswami said was a pioneering state in the areas of infrastructure and road facilities.

Earlier, on June 3, a vacation bench of the apex court refused to stay the Madras High Court order quashing the land acquisition process of the project, even as it issued notices to parties including the Tamil Nadu government on the appeal of the Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

NHAI, an autonomous agency of the central government, had challenged the high court order.

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, environmentalists who are against the felling of trees, besides political parties like PMK, now an ally of the ruling AIADMK.

First Published: Fri, June 07 2019. 13:50 IST
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