Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthira Balaji had earlier said that the government would be appealing the decision to stall the project.

TN CM promises to implement Madras HC order on Salem-Chennai expressway
news Salem-Chennai expressway Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 09:14

Days after the Madras High Court quashed land acquisition proceedings for the controversial Chennai-Salem expressway, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has promised to implement the order. In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, the chief minister said that the state was duty-bound to enforce the orders of the High Court. 

"This is an industrial belt and we believe that the eight-lane road would boost industry and infrastructure leading to employment. But the State is duty-bound to enforce court orders," he told the newspaper. 

The chief minister's statement comes a day after Milk and Dairy Development Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji said that the state government would file an appeal in the Supreme Court on the verdict stalling the Rs 10,000 crore project.

“The expressway is very crucial for the development of the industrial sector in the State,” he had said, adding that a discussion would be held with alliance partners. 

The proposed project, under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, was all set to acquire 1,900 hectares of land along the districts of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, and Salem. However, the project which raised eyebrows for its sudden proposal and prompt approval, met with many protests by farmers living along the proposed route. 

The Madras High Court’s verdict came on a bunch of petitions filed by farmers and the PMK, which is now in the AIADMK-led alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. PMK was among the first parties to protest land acquisition for the Rs 10,000 crore project. On Monday, a bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan of the Madras High Court, said that the benefits of the project were illusory. 

Chief Minister Palaniswami had batted for the project, even stating in the assembly that the Tamil Nadu government had fought for the project and that only 41 acres of forest land would be acquired. The court, however, rubbished these arguments, and ordered a reversal of all land records mutated by the government.

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