HC tells Dindigul Collector to pass orders after hearing TANTRANSCO and landowners

Considering the importance of the Virudhunagar-Coimbatore High Voltage transmission line project, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Dindigul Collector to pass orders after hearing the TANTRANSCO and the local residents who had raised an objection.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by residents of Dindigul district. They sought a direction to restrain the TANTRANSCO authorities from entering their land for erection of High Tension Transmission Towers and drawing of the transmission line.

The petitioners opposed the project being taken through their land. They said that there was a deviation from the resettlement plan and they would be losing their property. If the line was drawn as per the original plan, their land would be spared, they said.

In a counter affidavit, the TANTRANSCO submitted that the proposed project would improve operational efficiency, quality of power, reliability of the system and reduced losses leading to better voltage profile in Tamil Nadu.

The 765 KV transmission line would pass through Virudhunagar, Madurai, Dindigul and Tiruppur districts. A deviation was made in the line route taking into account the fact that an already existing line was passing close to the proposed route near Thovar reserve forest.

Taking note of the fact that already 50 % work was completed, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh said that the deviation in the route happened in Silvarpatti village. The original resettlement plan was conducted through remote sensing and GIS technologies method.

The plan was prepared with assistance from Anna University. Thereafter, a physical survey was conducted and it was found that the route alignment passed through the reserved forest. Then, the final route was suggested, reviewed and accepted.

The judge observed that specialists were involved in the process of drawing the plan of the important project and unless the court found any illegality on the face of it, the court cannot venture into giving its views on the findings of the expert body.

Further, the court said that there was no requirement for the authorities to get consent of the owners of the property or issue notice before proceeding with the project as the government permitted TANTRANSCO to execute the project as per the provisions of Electricity Act.

However, whenever any objection or protest was made by the landowners, the authorities have to necessarily approach the District Collector as per the provisions of Telegraph Act to seek the order to enter the property, the judge said.

The court observed that unless the order was obtained, authorities cannot enter the property. The court directed TANTRANSCO authorities to file the application and Dindigul Collector to pass orders after affording opportunity to hear the petitioners.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 10:04:13 PM |

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