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A PIL has been dismissed by the Madras High Court and it has been declined to interfere with the implementation of the GAIL project of laying of pipelines in seven districts of Tamil Nadu, since the three-day public hearing in connection with the project is scheduled to start from tomorrow.
A PIL filed by an advocate M Vetriselvan sought to forbear GAIL (India) Ltd from executing the project without first obtaining environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of September 14, 2006.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal, said “if any interference is made by this court at the instance of a person like the petitioner, who has no material to establish any of his allegations, to stall the on-going project, it will have adverse impact on the on-going project, which has been brought out by the Government of India taking into consideration the larger interests of the public, for the supply and distribution of natural gas for the household sector, commercial sector and transport sector.”

The project is from Kochi to Bangalore. The pipeline is to pass through Coimbatore, Namakkal, Tirupur, Krishnagiri, Erode, Dharmapuri and Salem districts.

The bench told that the judgement of a Division Bench in the matter had attained finality.

Tamil Nadu government issued a notification about the public hearing of the affected agriculturists and land owners from March 6 to 8.

On the submission made by the Advocate General, the bench held that the guidelines formulated by the Division Bench had been complied by the government by issuing a notification in newspapers with regard to the public hearing.

If for any reason as stated by the counsel that the respondents had not conducted the meeting as per law, then only a cause of action would arise for the aggrieved parties to assail the outcome or the manner of conduct of the meeting.

Having waited for a long time since the judgement of the Division Bench, at the eleventh hour, the petitioner had come forward with the present petition under the garb of public interest litigation.

“As seen from the sanction of the project, no individual had raised his little finger, except the present petitioner under the garb of a PIL. This was nothing but putting spokes in the execution of the project by filing a “publicity interest litigation,” according to the bench.

three-day public hearing

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