April 8, 2019
In a major setback to the government ahead of the general elections, the Madras High Court on Monday quashed the land acquisitions for the controversial Salem Greenfield Corridor as the project will have an adverse effect on environment and water bodies.
The court ordered the government to return the land to the farmers from whom the land was forcibly acquired for eight lane express highway between Chennai and Salem.
The state government has issued notification last May and began acquiring lands for the project evoking strong protests by the farmers. The High Court on Monday struck down the land acquisitions and other announcements.
A special division bench comprising of Justices TS Sivagnanam and Bhavani Subbaroyan ordered on a clutch of petitions moved by PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, and 35 land owners directly affected by the project and advocate AP Suryapragasam.
Ramadoss had moved the petition when he was not an alliance partner of the AIADMK and now are fighting the Lok Sabha and assembly bye-elections jointly in a coalition. Ruling out a public hearing on the matter the high court said the project needed major realignments.
The proposed alignment for the 277-km greenfield highway starts near Chennai Outer Ring Road junction and pass through Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem districts.
Greenfield corridor is part of the central government plan to develop economic corridors, inter corridors, feeder corridors and national corridors to improve freight movements under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ programme.