Madras HC refuses to stop land acquisition for Chennai Salem expressway

Madras HC refuses to stop land acquisition for Chennai-Salem expressway

The Madras High Court on Tuesday allowed land acquisition for the eight-lane Chennai-Salem green corridor project, dismissing a petition filed by an NGO to prevent accession of farm lands.

A bench comprising of justices Seshasayee and T S Sivagnanam ruled that there was no need to seek public opinion to go ahead with the project. They also stated that the directive of the case will not be applicable to other cases filed opposing the Salem eight-lane expressway.

Last month, in an attempt to allay fears among people whose lands are to be acquired for the Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane Chennai-Salem expressway, the Madras High Court directed the Centre, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the State government not to dispossess landowners of their properties until further orders.

The interim order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices T S Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan on a batch of cases filed by a few landowners as well as public interest litigants against the land acquisition proceedings.

In June, members of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and leaders from the Left Wing in Tamil Nadu had joined local residents and farmers in their protest, opposing the state government’s decision to acquire land for the proposed eight-lane Chennai-Salem Greenfield super expressway. This gave the agitators’ movement some much-needed momentum.

Despite mounting opposition to the highway project, the Tamil Nadu government seemed keen to complete the 277.3-kilometre expressway connecting Chennai and Salem and started conducting preliminary surveys. This prompted wild reactions from farmers.