Chennai-Salem highway: Centre submits report to SC

The Central government today submitted a detailed report on the proposed Chennai-Salem eight-way green corridor to the Supreme Court. Taking it up, the apex court adjourned hearing on the case to 7 August.

The ambitious 277.3-km-long project, connecting Salem and Chennai under the Centre’s ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ scheme, was aimed at reducing the travel time between the two cities by half to about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the present six hours.

After the Madras High Court quashed land acquisition proceedings for the Chennai-Salem eight-lane expressway, the central government has sought relief from the Supreme Court. The Hindu reports that the Union government requested the apex court to pass an order setting aside the  ruling.

The Union government urged the Supreme Court to pass an order to vacate an April 8 ruling of the Madras High Court, quashing the land acquisition process for the ₹10,000-crore Salem-Chennai eight-lane green corridor project.

The High Court had held that the environmental clearance was mandatory for the sensitive project. In April, the lower court had slammed the Rs 10,000 crore project, its pre-feasibility report and the unconvincing arguments put forth by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The High Court order had come on a batch of petitions filed by 35 land-owners and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss. The pleas challenged the land acquisition proceedings.

The High Court made it 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.