Saturday, 05 Aug, 6.38 am

Madras High Court notice to govt on petrochemicals region

Chennai: The Madras high court has ordered notice to the Central Government and state governments on a plea challenging the decision to set up Petrochemicals Investment Region in 23,000 hectares of land in 45 coastal villages in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts.

In the petition, G. Sundarrajan managing trustee of Poovulagin Nanbargal, has submitted that the Union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers on April 4, 2007, published a 'Policy Resolution for Petroleum, Chemicals, and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs). Following this Department of Chemicals and Petro Chemicals of the Union Ministry had approved setting up four Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) in Andhra Pradesh (Vishakapatnam - Kakinada), Gujarat (Dahej), Odisha (Paradeep) and Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore - Nagapattinam).

The department would support the development of external physical infrastructure linkages, including rail, road, port, airport, telecom through Viability Gap Funding (VGF). However, no fund has so far been released to any States including Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu Housing and Urban Development issued a GO dated December 18, 2015, declared its intention to delineate 45 villages in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam District included under the proposed PCPIR as "local planning area" under the Act. The state government invited objections/suggestions from the inhabitants of about 23,000 hectares spread over 45 villages and local authority on or before March 13, 2016

On January 13, 2016, the GO was published only in English and in the absence of a gazette notification in Tamil, the villagers had not effectively made any objections/suggestions. As per norms, the G.O. ought to have been published in at least in a few Tamil newspapers, which had a wide circulation in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam Districts. Hence, the notification illegal and void and arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, Sundarrajan said.

When the matter came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Justices TS. Sivagnanam and M. Sundar, it issued a notice to the authorities returnable by four weeks.