The Madras High Court on Thursday disposed of a case filed by 82 farmers from Erode district after recording the undertaking of Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) that it would not forcefully erect towers, for the 800 kv Raigarh-Pugalur High Voltage Direct Current Bipole Link.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh said that the apprehensions raised by the petitioners have been addressed in view of submissions made by senior counsel P. Thiagarajan that the PGCI shall strictly follow Section 16 (1) of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 and obtain the Collector’s permission before entering into private lands where there was resistance or obstruction.
‘No police interference’
It was also made clear that the police should not interfere as long as the PGCI was acting in accordance with law.
The order was passed in view of the petitioners’ allegation that policemen were threatening to foist false cases against them and their family members if they resisted, in the villages of Arachalur, Modakurichi and Ezhumathur.
It was brought to the notice of the judge that the Bipole Link passing through 1,843 km and cutting across five States — Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu — was conceived to address the power deficit in South India.
In so far was Tamil Nadu was concerned, the project implementation area covered the districts of Tiruppur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Vellore where giant towers were being erected to transmit power through overhead power lines.
However, the petitioners from Kongudaiyampalayam, Vadugapatti, Nanjaikalamangalam, Punjaikalamangalam, Modakurichi, Velampalayam, Arachalur and Ezhumathur of Erode district opposed erection of towers on their agricultural lands and said it would affect their constitutional right to property.