Court directs expeditious completion to evacuate power from Mettur station

The Madras High Court on Friday directed the electricity board to proceed with the work of erecting high-power transmission lines from Mettur along the original route, instead of an alternative one, and complete it expeditiously.

The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam gave the direction while dismissing appeals challenging a common order of a single judge on writ petitions relating to the route for laying the transmission line.

The TNEB proposed to erect a new 400 KV double circuit line from the newly constructed 600 MW capacity at the Mettur Thermal Power Station Stage-III to Arasur for evacuating power. The scheme was approved in October 2009. The route length was 110 km.

Work commenced in January 2010 and was to be completed by October last year. It has been completed except for nine towers proposed at Nambiyampalayam and Sundakkampalayam near Avinashi.

Objecting to the line, seven landowners filed writ petitions, which were disposed of with some directions.

Following a board’s request, the Tirupur Collector issued directions to the board officials to study the feasibility of an alternative route. The board said that considering technical aspects, the original route, along a panchayat road, was more feasible. Following a meeting between land owners and the board, it was orally agreed that the original route would be adopted. The Collector was transferred and the new district head passed an order on July 18 last year to take the alternative route instead of the original one. Objecting to this, the landowners filed writ petitions.

A single Judge held that the Collector’s order was not only without jurisdiction but also arbitrary. The present appeals challenged the single Judge’s order.

Writing the judgment for the Bench, Mr. Justice Eqbal said that the Collector had not assigned any reason why the lines should not pass through the original route. Thus, the order, apart from being without jurisdiction, was vitiated for not giving reasons, which would offend Article 14 of the Constitution.

By reason of the Collector’s order, several landowners would be affected. By continuing the installation of the poles/lines through the original route, it would cross the lands of very few persons and the work could also be completed within the shortest possible time.

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