TAMIL NADU

NHAI told to consider plea against land acquisition

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the National Highways Authority of India to consider a representation, seeking reconsideration of the proposed acquisition of land from Koyambedu to Maduravoyal for the elevated corridor from the Chennai port to Maduravoyal, and pass orders in a week.

Justice K. Suguna passed the order on a writ petition filed by L. Gunasekaran of Maduravoyal and three others.

The plea

In the petition, filed by counsel R. Karthikeyan, the petitioners submitted that the National Highways Department recently acquired land from Koyambedu to Maduravoyal on both sides of EVR Salai for widening the highway and improving access to the Golden Quadrilateral corridor. A notification was published, value of the land determined and payment made to owners during 2007-08. The land was demarcated and the petitioners, along with others, handed over their land to the authorities. Mr. Gunasekaran said that after the acquisition, the owners, including himself, renovated the buildings. Some demolished entire structures and constructed multi-storey buildings on the patta land. In July last year, he found a mark painted in the building by the authorities without any intimation to the landowners. Enquiries revealed that the NHAI proposed to construct an elevated corridor. A batch of representations, dated November last, was forwarded to the authorities to reconsider the proposal.

Proof enclosed

The judge said the stand of Additional Advocate-General P. Wilson was that since no notification had been issued under section 3 (a) of the National Highways Act, the question of considering the representation as on date did not arise. But, as rightly pointed out by counsel for the petitioner, proof for the same had been enclosed. The foundation had been laid for the project.

Formalities

She said that when steps had been taken even without the respondents — the competent authority and Special DRO (LA), National Highways, Poonamallee; the competent authority, the State Highways Department and the National Highways Department, Poonamallee; the Tiruvallur Collector and the NHAI — complying with the formalities under the relevant Act, the representation of the petitioners had to be considered and orders passed.

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