Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu industrial wing vice president Selva Kumar has said that the dual face of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been exposed in the issue of the Chennai-Salem greenfield expressway.
Replying to a question asked by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MP Anbumani Ramadoss, Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in Parliament that the DMK had never officially opposed or rejected the project.
The project had been opposed by the DMK and its allies when they were in opposition. Massive protests were held against it on grounds of it causing loss to farmers and damage to the environment etc.
It was also argued that there were existing highways connecting the cities and so there was no need for the expressway.
Ramadoss too opposed the project and was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had given the go-ahead to the project but asked the state government to reverse the mutation entries and put the land back in the name of the farmers. After that, a fresh process of land acquisition could start.
Ramadoss said that he was worried because while the DMK claims that Chief Minister MK Stalin had opposed the project in a meeting with PM Modi in 2021, revenue officials on the ground are saying that if and when the process resumes, the farmers would have to give up their land.
According to estimates, the 277.3-kilometre-long Chennai-Salem expressway would reduce travel time between the two cities by two and a half hours.
One of the existing highways connects Salem to Chennai through Krishnagiri and the other through Ulundurpet near Kallakurichi.
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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