Within 24 hours of the second BJP-led NDA government being sworn in, their allies in Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on May 31 on the controversial Chennai-Salem green corridor. The court has granted a hearing on the appeal on June 3. The land acquisition for the Rs. 10,000-crore project had earlier been quashed by the Madras High Court division bench observing that the project would have an adverse impact on the environment and farm lands. The bench also ordered the revenue department to reverse the entries in records to the respective land owners.
The 277.3km-long eight lane road was proposed to reduce the travel time between Chennai and Salem as part of the central government’s prestigious Bharatmala Pariyojana. The project was opposed by farmers in five districts — namely Krishnagiri, Salem, Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram — whose farmlands were to be acquired. To oppose this, 28 organisations came together and formed a Joint Action Committee to raise concerns over the livelihood of farmers and environmental issues. They have been conducting mass protests throughout the affected areas and blocking acquisition procedures by the revenue department.
Also read: BJP Proposes to Implement Chennai-Salem Green Corridor Amidst Widespread Protests
The court quashed the land acquisition on the petition of around 50 farmers and on the petition filed by Pattali Makkal Katchi chief Anbumani Ramadoss. Interestingly, the PMK is part of the AIADMK-BJP poll alliance.
Both AIADMK and the state faction of BJP have been staunch supporters of the implementation of the project. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had many times reiterated that his government would implement the project at any cost.
Even after the project was halted by the order of high court, the chief minister had said he would try to implement the project, which again led to protests in certain pockets of the districts.
The issue of the Chennai-Salem green corridor was a hot topic in the election campaigns for all parties. Union minister Nitin Gadkari had also said that the Chennai-Salem Green Corridor project would be implemented at any cost, while addressing an election campaign in Salem.