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PIL challenges Rs 20,000 crore highway to Bengaluru
The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation moved against the proposed Rs 20,000 crore Bengaluru-Chennai highway and acquisition of about 455.85 acres of lands for this purpose in Kancheepuram district alone.
A division bench comprising Justice M Venugopal and Justice M Nirmal Kumar, before whom the plea moved by S Gnanasekaran of West Tambaram, came up on Friday, ordered notice before posting the matter for further hearing to August 9.
Stating that the proposed expressway would only save 20 kms when compared to present distance, the petitioner submitted that the Rs 20,000 crore project was an unnecessary burden on the state exchequer while the Government can do well to improve the present Bengaluru to Krishnagiri NH 7, which can cater to the needs of all concerned.
Also, noting that the proposed project involved acquiring huge tracts of agricultural lands in Sriperumbudur and Kancheepuram, the petitioner said there already exists two routes from Chennai to Bengaluru, of which the route via Kolar, Chittoor and Ranipet was only 335 km while another route was only 349 km. But NHAI authorities erroneously calculated the distance as 372 km and proposed the project, stating that it would reduce the distance.
Pointing out that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification for the acquisition of lands under 3A (1) of NH Act in Sriperumbudur and Kancheepuram, the petitioner also noted that the audit report from the office of Principal Accountant General, Chennai, has already revealed to the Central Government and NHAI that the project was not a viable one.