The Supreme Court on Monday, June 3, refused to stay the Madras High Court order quashing the Chennai-Salem Green Corridor project. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) on May 31 and was heard by the vacation bench consisting of Justices Indu Malhotra and M R Shah. The bench, however, had ordered to issue notices to the parties including the Tamil Nadu state government.
Earlier on Friday, farmers held widespread protests as soon as the news of NHAI filing an appeal on the issue came out. The farmers and residents of the districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Salem and Krishnagiri have charted out the protest programs against the move of the NHAI, an autonomous agency under the Government of India.
In Salem, the home district of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, farmers and general public of 16 villages including Uthamasolapuram, Achankuttapatti, Ramalingapuram, and Nazhikkalpatti staged a hunger strike against the project. The farmers of Tiruvannamalai are staging a protest in front of the District Collector’s office today.
Also read: Tamil Nadu Government Files Appeal on Chennai-Salem Green Corridor
Tiruvannamalai District Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Siva Kumar told NewsClick, “The District administration denied permission to conduct the demonstration today. Only after meeting the district Superintendent of Police the permission was granted. The Action Committee Against the 8-Lane road is leading the struggle with A number of farmers’ and civil rights organisations. We will continue the protest till the anti-farmer, anti-nature project is scrapped.”
During an election campaign meeting in Salem, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced in the presence of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, and Pattali Makkal Katchi leader Anbumani Ramadoss, that the project will be implemented without any compromise. Interestingly, it was Dr Anbumani who had filed the case against the project in the Madras High Court. While the Chief Minister’s statement that the project will be implemented has drawn ire from the farmers.
The Madras High Court on April 8 had banned the project stating that environmental clearance is mandatory since the proposed 8-lane road runs through reserve forests and water bodies. The farmers and environmental activists alleged that both the state and union governments are acting against the interest of the farmers by destroying fertile farm lands and reserve forest areas.