Salem: Unfazed by continuing protests by farmers, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami exuded optimism on Friday saying the Central and State governments will take steps to implement the Salem-Chennai 8-lane expressway after pacifying and convincing the land owners on the project's necessity.
“This is a Central government project, not of the state and as far as we are concerned we have no intention to force any project down the throats of people or snatch their lands (from farmers); the expressway is to keep pace with the exponential growth in vehicles in the last 15-20 years, ensure transportation safety of the people, save on fuel and to protect the environment at the same time,” he said speaking at a function here to inaugurate phase-one of a massive Rs 441 crore flyover between A.V.R. Roundtana and Ramakrishna road junction.
Stating that the Central government has chalked up plans to upgrade road infrastructure to global standards with super highways, Mr Palaniswami said compared to 2001, vehicular population on this segment has jumped 300 per cent.
The expressway would ensure free, unhindered smooth flow of heavy commercial truck traffic beyond Salem to places like Erode, Tirupur and Coimbatore and into Kerala, he said. Such super highways were needed keeping future industrial growth in mind, he said, and hoped to get over the legal tangle.
Pointing out that road infrastructure in Tamil Nadu was much better than in many other states in the country, Mr Palaniswami said his government will take steps to establish a factory to manufacture spares for defence equipment in Salem, as assured by Ms Nirmala Sitharaman when she was defence minister.
This project alone would generate direct and indirect jobs for the youth in a big way, he said.
A host of AIADMK MLAs' including S Semmalai and G Venkatachalam, Salem DMK MP, S. R. Parthiban, DMK MLA, R. Rajendran, PWD and Highways principal secretary, S K Prabhakar, Salem collector, Dr Rohini Bhajibhakare, and other top officials participated in the function.
FLUTTER: Earlier, at the function venue, noisy exchanges between DMK and AIADMK men over inadequate seating arrangements and a brief interruption by DMK supporters raising slogans to hail their leader M K Stalin when the Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami rose to speak, caused a flutter. After the formal inauguration, when Mr. Palaniswami went to the site of the new flyover to cut the ribbon before throwing it open to the public, he waited for nearly 15 minutes for the DMK MP and MLA in a show of political maturity and magnanimity.