HC notice to Centre on PIL against expressway project

By PTI Published on Jul 28, 2018 11:35 AM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL against the proposed Rs 20,000-crore Bengaluru-Chennai expressway project.

A division bench comprising justices M Venugopal and M Nirmal Kumar, before which the public interest litigation petition of S Gnanasekaran came up for hearing, posted the matter for further hearing to 9 August.

The petitioner has claimed that the expressway will reduce the distance by only 20 km compared to the existing highways and that it was an unnecessary burden of Rs 20,000 crore on the state exchequer.

Instead, he has submitted, the government can think of improving the present national highway, stretching from Bengaluru to Krishnagiri, which can cater to the needs of all concerned.

Contending that the proposed expressway would entail acquisition of a huge tract of agricultural land for reducing the distance by only 20 km, the petitioner has said the government should give up the project.

Referring to the two existing routes from Chennai to Bengaluru, he said the one through Kolar, Chittor and Ranipet was only 335-km-long while the other was 349-km-long.

But, he claimed, the highway authorities erroneously calculated the distance as 372 km and proposed the project for 349 km by saying it would cut down the distance by 20 km. He said the public did not face discomfort or inconvenience with the present routes and hence, there was no need for the new project.

Further, he said the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification for acquisition of land in Sriperumbudur taluk and Kancheepuram district.

Though he had made representations against the project, the highway authorities did not pay heed to them, the petitioner said.

Hence, he prayed to the court to consider his representation on merit and direct the government to scrap the project. Already, petitions have been filed in the high court against the Rs 10,000-crore Chennai-Salem greenfield corridor project.