Nearly a week after the Madras High Court quashed the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000 crore Chennai-Salem eightlane green corridor project, Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said that the central government is committed to implementing the road project after reaching a consensus with farmers.
Calling the controversial project, which has currently been by the Madras High Court, the most important development project in the region, Gadkari at an election rally in Salem said, “Today the matter is in court. The high court has given a stay for it. But still, it is very important for the development of this area. Our Chief Minister is constantly pursuing this subject... I’m expecting that in due course of time, with discussion with the farmers, we will resolve the issues and we will fulfill your dream of making of the Green Express Highway between Chennai and Salem.”
The proposed eight-lane expressway is a key poll issue as more than 15,000 acres of fertile farm lands in a dozen districts will be affected by the project.
Ironically the PMK was one of the key litigants against the eight-lane project and Anbumani Ramadoss, who is contesting from Dharmapuri Lok Sabha constituency, welcomed the high court order quashing the project.
At the public meet, the CM and Ramadoss did not speak on their stand over the Green Corridor project, but exuded confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would win a second successive term On April 8, a special bench of the high court that passed orders on a batch of petitions quashed the land acquisition process for the Rs 10,000 crore green field project, holding it required a mega realignment as the proposed route would have an adverse effect on environment.
The 277.3-km-long eight-lane project under the Centre’s ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ scheme aims to cut travel time between Salem and Chennai by half to about two hours and 15 minutes.