The Centre on Friday submitted in the Madras High Court that there was nothing to prove that it had violated the law on land acquisition for the proposed Salem-Chennai corridor project.
Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan, who appeared on behalf of the Union government, said the project was still in a "fluid stage." "Nothing will happen as apprehended by the petitioners in connection with the acquisition proceedings," he informed a division bench comprising Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Bhavani Subbaroyan.
The bench is hearing a batch of pleas by agriculturists opposing the proposed project and land acquisition proceedings.
Referring to a court order, he submitted that there was no connection between land acquisition and environmental clearance.
The bench directed the National Highways Authority of India to file a chart as to the steps taken and "the stage at which various assessment/study are as on date." The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on September 20.
The Rs 10,000 crore eight lane Salem-Chennai expressway project has been facing opposition from a section of locals, including farmers, over fears of losing their land, besides environmentalists who are opposed to felling of trees.