Palaniswami: Land needed for expressway won’t be snatched

Chief minister Palamswami said that the vehicle population has grown 100%, which has prompted the Centre to propose modern roads

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Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami

Chennai: Batting for the Salem-Chennai expressway, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has assured that land meant for the project “will not be snatched away” from their owners and the matter will be discussed with them.

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

The Centre has proposed the project considering factors like promoting further industrialization in the region, even as many of the national 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%, which has prompted the Centre to propose modern roads, he said.

The chief minister stated, “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 also quoted, “This is a central scheme, not the state governments. As far as the state government is concerned, our intention is not to impose (a project) and snatch away (lands or other property),”.

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 the unhindered movement of heavy vehicles between western Tamil Nadu cities like Salem, Coimbatore and Erode and even up to neighbouring Kerala, Palaniswami said on Friday. He said that it should not be construed that the road was meant for Edappadi Palaniswami.

Such road forecast was aimed at preventing accidents, minimising travel time, reducing fuel consumption and protecting the environment, the chief minister said.

Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu was a pioneering State in the areas of infrastructure and road facilities.

Earlier, on 3 June, a vacation bench of the Supreme Court had 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 National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

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

The ambitious 277.3 km eight-lane greenfield forecast 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.