Tamil Nadu will implement the Madras High Court order on the ₹10,000-crore Chennai-Salem eight-lane greenfield expressway project, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has said.
A day after Dairy Development Minister K.T. Rajendra Balaji said that the State would appeal against the order quashing acquisition proceedings initiated by the Centre and the State for the project proposed on a stretch of 277 km passing through agricultural and reserve forest lands, Mr. Palaniswami told The Hindu that it was the responsibility of the government to implement the court ruling.
Parrying questions on whether the order was a setback to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the run up to the elections, the Chief Minister said the Salem-Chennai expressway was a project of the Centre and the State was facilitating the same by way of acquiring land.
“This is an industrial belt and we believe that the eight-lane road would boost industry and infrastructure leading to employment. But the State is duty-bound to enforce court orders,” he said.
The project faced bitter opposition from affected farmers who owned lands along the proposed alignment, environmental activists and political parties, including the AIADMK’s new found ally the PMK.
Asserting that good governance had been “successfully demonstrated” over the last two years, the Chief Minister said the State had attracted industrial investments amounting to ₹3.43 lakh crore, which would generate employment for at least 10 lakh educated youth in the next two to three years. Government funds were ‘judiciously’ distributed to all departments for implementing development programmes and welfare schemes, he added.
“Many departments have got national awards for outstanding performance. There was uninterrupted power supply across the State.
On the law and order front, Tamil Nadu is doing extremely well. Once the BJP returns to power, our main demand will be the linking of Godavari-Cauvery rivers, which will go a long way in meeting our drinking water and water for agriculture requirements,” he said.
According to him, Narendra Modi was the people’s choice as Prime Ministerial candidate. “There is no other PM candidate in the country... only in Tamil Nadu DMK president M.K. Stalin is projecting Congress president Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate. India cannot afford a weak Prime Minister or unstable government,” he argued.