CHENNAI: Contradicting the claim of Tamil Nadu government, the project implementation director of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) submitted in the Madras High Court that an application has been sent to the Union Environment Ministry for getting clearance for the Chennai-Salem Green Corridor project.
This was mentioned in a counter-affidavit filed by the director in the Madras High Court in response to a batch of PILs and writ petitions challenging the project and opposing acquisition of lands.The counter said the Expert Appraisal Committee at its 189th meeting on May 7 last had recommended to grant Terms of Reference (ToR) with certain specific conditions in addition to the standard ToR. The road alignment passes through the reserved forest for about 10 km and on May 12 last, a request was made to the Chief Conservator of Forests for collection of necessary data and for conducting surveys in the forest areas.
In his reply dated June 8 last, the official had granted permission for collection of data and conducting surveys in the forest areas as per the Forest (Conservation) Act and the Government of India guidelines for investigation and survey. The field survey is in progress and the proposal will be sent to the forest department concerned to get permission for diversion of forest land. The proposed project would reduce travel time between Chennai and Salem to 2 hours and 30 minutes, the counter said.