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Yamuna Expressway connecting Greater Noida with Agra gets apex court nod

New Delhi, Sep 10 (Calcutta Tube) The Supreme Court Wednesday cleared the decks for the 160-km six-lane Yamuna Expressway project connecting Greater Noida with Agra.

The $350 million project, that would also see five townships and industrial areas developing along its eastern stretch to boost development, was conceived way back in 2000.

Originating at Greater Noida, the Yamuna Expressway would culminate at Agra after passing through Aligarh and Mathura. The expressway would reduce travelling distance between Noida and Agra.

Originally named as Taj Expressway, the Yamuna Expressway project got delayed by eight years before the Uttar Pradesh government issued notification for acquisition of land in 2008.

The apex court bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice Cyriac Joseph in their judgment cleared the last bottleneck by upholding the Allahabad High Court verdict which had upheld acquisition of land by the state government.

The court also rejected the petitioners’ contention that the state government had erred in invoking the urgency clause to dispense with the public hearing for acquisition of land for the project.

The court also did not accept the petitioners’ contention that the entire acquisition of land was for private purpose and no public interest was involved in it.

The apex court repeatedly referred to the Allahabad High Court verdict saying invoking of the urgency clause for acquiring lands was a must in the wake of loss of time that had already taken place. The court said that otherwise the entire project would lose its efficacy.

‘We are completely convinced that there was necessity (to invoke urgency clause) in this project, considering the various reasons like enormousness of the project, likelihood of encroachments, number of appellants who would have required to be heard and the time taken for that purpose, and the fact that the project had lingered already from 2001 till 2008,’ Justice Sirpurkar said, writing the judgment.

‘We do not see any reason why we should take a different view,’ the judgment said.

On the question whether the Expressway project was in public interest, the judgment said: ‘There can be no dispute that this road would add to the betterment of the citizens of the East Yamuna area in particular and Uttar Pradesh in general.’

Addressing the question that the acquisition of land was an exercise of power, the judgment said: ‘We must say that there was full transparency in the whole process, and the whole process was checked, re-checked and re-rechecked, leaving no scope to infer any bias in favour of the company.’

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