The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court’s judgment clearing the Elevated Express Highway Lane (EEHL) project linking Chennai Port and Maduravoyal by a 19-km road.
In its appeal filed by counsel B. Balaji, the State said initial clearance by the Tamil Nadu government was given for the project which was intended to ease traffic congestion. It said, “The G.O. permitted the use of one side of River Cooum Bank for the construction of the EEHL. It is pertinent to mention that no alignment plan was approved by the PWD in terms of G.O. 199. The CRZA clearance was issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest based on the proposal that the Elevated Expressway lane would be constructed along the banks of River Cooum.”
It said, “Such clearance was subject to the specific condition that there shall not be any hindrance to the very flow of water in the river Cooum at any point of time. One of the conditions of CRZ clearance was that in the event of any changes in the Project Profile, fresh reference shall be made to the Ministry of Environment and Forest. Contrary to the above conditions, NHAI erected 32 pillars right inside the river-bed near Spurtank Road and College Road instead of constructing the pillars on the river bank. Similarly, Pile Caps were constructed above the bed level instead of constructing the same below the bed level.” It said “erecting 32 additional pillars inside the River Cooum would obstruct and hinder the free flow of water and would cause serious inundation during rainy season. During flood seasons, the river carries a large volume of about 25,000 cusecs of water. Any obstruction in the river will result in the river breaching its banks causing large scale destruction of property and loss of precious human lives. In 2005 there was large scale flooding due to the obstructions inside the Cooum River.”
Finding fault with the High Court order, the State said “the High Court referred to the fact that EEHL is a project in public interest and therefore, it should be allowed to be completed, totally overlooking the fact that larger public interest would be affected if such additional 32 pillars are constructed inside river Cooum. Equally, advantages by construction of EEHL are comparatively not so great.”
The SLP sought quashing of the impugned judgment.