The Madras High Court docket on Monday quashed the land acquisition proceedings initiated by the Centre besides to the Mutter Authorities for the ambitious ₹10,000 crore Chennai-Salem eight-lane greenfield minute-salvage entry to toll road project proposed on a stretch of 277 km passing thru agricultural besides to negate forest land.
A Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan quashed the proceedings after retaining that environmental clearance was as soon as wanted for the reason that project would beget an harmful impact on the atmosphere, including waterbodies, and that a project document submitted by a well informed was as soon as now not satisfactory.
The judgement was as soon as delivered on a batch of conditions filed by advocates, farmers and politicians. Prominent among the many petitioners was as soon as Member of Parliament Anbumani Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, which has now aligned with the BJP-AIADMK within the Lok Sabha election.
The marathon listening to on the conditions had taken plan from June to December, when the Division Bench reserved its verdict, and plenty of other intervening time orders had been handed. The courtroom restrained the authorities from forcibly dispossessing the land house owners from their properties and never to use police force in opposition to the protesters.
Centre defends project
The Centre, on the opposite hand, defended the project by stating that the minute-salvage entry to toll road would if reality be told aid in preventing free up of around 17 crore kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is simply like the enact accomplished thru a 38,000 ha forest speak with 75 lakh trees.
In a counter-affidavit filed consistent with public passion litigation petitions filed by indicate A.P. Suryaprakasam and two others, the Centre acknowledged the reduction of carbon dioxide might maybe furthermore very neatly be accomplished by cutting back diesel consumption by 10 crore litres each and each year. It went on to speak that the consumption of diesel would come down significantly thanks to shortening of travelling distance between Chennai and Salem by 57 km to 75 km.
Amit Kumar Ghosh, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, who filed the counter-affidavit, acknowledged the minute-salvage entry to toll road was as soon as phase of the Centre’s most most considerable road programme known as Bharatmala Pariyojana-I, entailing the building of about 35,000 km of national highways across the nation at an estimated price of ₹5,35,000 crore sooner than 2022. The programme was as soon as geared toward decongesting six national corridors.
Based totally on the legit, resorting to brownfield pattern and widening the existing national highways would be extra detrimental to the atmosphere than greenfield alignment, because it [brownfield development] would require felling of trees rather then demolishing constructions that had come up on either facet of the highways as a result of urbanisation. He acknowledged brownfield pattern was as soon as now not resorted to thanks to ground constraints besides to connected monetary and environmental prices.
The two existing highways between Chennai and Salem are 334 km and 353 km long and the proposed minute-salvage entry to toll road would decrease the distance to factual 277 km.
‘No wish to salvage prior environmental clearance’
The courtroom was as soon as also told that there was as soon as no wish to believe prior environmental clearance for the project from the Ministry of Ambiance and Forests, sooner than issuing preliminary land acquisition notifications below Fragment 3A(1) of the National Highways Act of 1956. “The authority empowered to undertake atmosphere appraisal and clearance can not enact so unless it’s made responsive to the alignment as borne out from the preliminary land acquisition notifications in this behalf. Additional, the land acquisition per se has no impact on the atmosphere impact evaluate… These are two altogether a bunch of activities and never inter-dependant,” the Centre acknowledged. It added that works had been being conducted concurrently to diminish time.
Mr. Ghosh conceded that 9.95 km of reserved forest speak had to be obtained for the minute-salvage entry to toll road. “It will maybe maybe kindly be liked that such extra or much less forest stretches are unavoidable in long linear projects and the authorities beget taken due care to preserve the impact to the barest minimum whereas finalizing the alignment,” he acknowledged, adding that due care would be taken to preserve the waterbodies en route by desilting and deepening them.