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Chennai-Salem expressway: Affected farmers to decide on next course of legal action
Upset over Supreme Court order upholding land acquisition notifications for the Chennai-Salem 8-lane 277-km long expressway, the farmers from five project-affected districts will meet in a couple of days to decide the next course of action.
“We are studying the Apex court verdict to take the next course of legal action. But farmers in the five districts, through which the expressway alignment was proposed, would meet to decide on how to resist the project if the government decides to go ahead with it,” said A Chandramohan, one of the coordinators of the Movement Against Chennai-Salem Expressway Project.
He said the representatives of the farmers association in Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram would meet in a day or two to decide the future course of action. He added that there was no need for a new greenfield expressway when the existing highways could be widened to accommodate more traffic. “Our farmers did not allow the revenue officials to even conduct the survey for the land acquisition. We will not allow the project to go ahead,” he asserted.
Tamil Nadu Vivasaigal Sangam, which was forefront in the opposition for the expressway project, said the Centre and the State government should drop the proposed expressway considering the farmers’ sentiments. “Any projects that seek to take away the farmer’s land which is their source of the livelihood should not be allowed. Farmers will continue their fight to protect their land rights,” said P Shanmugham, general secretary of the TNVS.
“The Centre and State governments have trampled on all the regulations and tried to implement the eight-lane project in a state of emergency without obtaining an environmental clearance and hearing the views of the farmers and the public who are affected by the project. Farmers waged a fierce struggle to defend their land rights. Due to strong opposition from the farmers, the government could not start the work as expected. The Madras High Court dismissed the notification issued for acquiring the land for violating the rules and illegal to implement the project without getting the environmental clearance,” he said.
Opposition parties, including DMK, Left and VCK have urged the State and Central governments to drop the project considering the welfare of farmers.