The central government on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s order quashing the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000-crore Salem-Chennai green corridor project, PTI reported.
A vacation bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna fixed the appeal for hearing on June 3 after the government’s counsel argued that the matter was of utmost importance.
On April 8, the Madras High Court had quashed the land acquisition process undertaken by the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for the green corridor project. The proposed project covers a stretch of 277 km, cutting through agricultural and reserve forest lands.
The High Court bench had said that the project would adversely affect the environment and surrounding water bodies. It said that an environmental clearance from the Union government was mandatory. The order followed a host of petitions, challenging the land acquisition, filed by 35 owners and Pattali Makkal Katchi leader Anbumani Ramadoss.
The Madras High Court had called the project report of a consultant unsatisfactory and had said that it must be scrapped. The court had called for a proper study by analysing the impact on forests, wildlife and waterbodies, among other things.
The Chennai-Salem highway project is an eight-lane greenfield project that would connect the two cities under the Centre’s “Bharatmala Pariyojna” scheme. It aims to cut travel time between Salem and Chennai to about two hours and 15 minutes. However, the project has seen opposition from a section of locals and farmers who fear loss of land. Environmentalists have also advocated against the project due to its ecological impact.