Tamil Nadu

HC puts on hold widening of NH from Villupuram to Nagapattinam

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Court insists on EIA and CRZ clearance

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to put on hold the widening of the 179.55 km NH 45A, between Villupuram and Nagapattinam, until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out for the entire project, to be implemented at a cost of ₹6,431.71 crore, and also until the Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance was obtained for two stretches in between.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and N. Seshasayee passed the order while disposing of a batch of cases filed against the project being implemented under the Bharatmala Pariyojana programme without carrying out environmental impact assessment. They, however, said that the land acquisition proceedings for the project could go on and that status quo should be maintained only until environmental concerns were addressed.

After completing EIA and obtaining CRZ clearance, the project could proceed after making necessary modifications to address the contra indicators, if any, pointed out by the authorities concerned, the judges said. As and when the project resumes, the concessionaire concerned should identify places where 10 saplings would be planted for every tree cut for the project and the court shall also constitute a team to monitor it, they added.

Authoring the verdict, Justice Seshasayee said, the court has had bitter experiences in the past when several thousand trees were felled about two decades back to convert many National Highways passing through the State into two four lanes. Promises were made and undertakings were given to plant 10 saplings for every tree cut, but “those promises and undertakings were flouted with impunity and forgotten with convenience,” the judge lamented.

Therefore, now it wanted compliance of the rule in letter and spirit in so far as widening of NH 45A was concerned.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 11:11:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-puts-on-hold-widening-of-nh-from-villupuram-to-nagapattinam/article30518040.ece

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