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Transmission Line Route- "Ensure Least Displacement To Farmers Or Disturbance To Agricultural Lands": Madras High Court To State

Sparsh Upadhyay
22 Jan 2021 2:31 PM GMT
Transmission Line Route- Ensure Least Displacement To Farmers Or Disturbance To Agricultural Lands: Madras High Court To State
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The route should be so planned by the State there is a least displacement of farmers or disturbance to the agricultural lands while keeping the costs of transmission also in mind: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court on Monday (18th January) observed that if transmission towers/lines have to be set up on agricultural lands, then the route should be so planned by the State there is a least displacement of farmers or disturbance to the agricultural lands while keeping the costs of transmission also in mind. The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M. M. Sundresh...

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The Madras High Court on Monday (18th January) observed that if transmission towers/lines have to be set up on agricultural lands, then the route should be so planned by the State there is a least displacement of farmers or disturbance to the agricultural lands while keeping the costs of transmission also in mind.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M. M. Sundresh was hearing a plea wherein the petitioner raises an issue as to how transmission lines should be designed so as not to disturb agricultural lands or render large tracts of agricultural fields uncultivable.

Importantly, the Court directed that a copy of the petition be forwarded to the Head of the Electrical and Mechanical Departments in the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, for such body to be represented on the virtual mode when the matter appears next.

To this, the petitioner also stated that aspects of the matter such as electromagnetic emission from transmission lines that may have an adverse effect on crop production and even human health may be considered by the Indian Institute of Technology in its report.

To this, the Court was of the view that at present, it appears to be far-fetched to seek transmission lines to be carried underground, particularly, since that could involve huge expenses and, in any event, for such lines to be carried underground, there may be even more disruption in the agricultural activities undertaken, unless the jack-pushing method or boring method, on a limited scale, can be resorted to upon a scientific study being conducted in such regard.

[NOTE: Interestingly, in the year 2019, the Madras High Court had suggested that the Tamil Nadu government consider laying underground cables for transmitting high-tension power so that the possible effect of high voltage causing cancer be neutralized.

Justices N Kirubakaran and S. S. Sundar in their interim order had also issued notices to the Chief Manager of the Power Grid Corporation, Collectors of Karur, Tiruchi and Dindigul and posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.]

Further, in the instant matter, while noting that the State or the appropriate authorities should take the lines of least resistance while choosing the routes of the transmission lines, the Bench remarked,

"It is possible that towers have to be set up on agricultural lands, but the route should be so planned so that there is a least displacement of farmers or disturbance to the agricultural lands while keeping the costs of transmission also in mind."

Lastly, the matter was posted for further hearing on 15th February 2021 along with another writ petition (related to the similar matter and pending before the Single Bench).

Related news

In the year 2019, the Madras High Court had held that erection of the cell phone towers cannot be prevented on a mere apprehension about the effect of radiation from the cell phone tower.

The apprehension does not have a scientific backing. Till a positive finding is given in this regard, cell phone towers cannot be prevented to be installed on mere apprehensions, said Justice N. Anand Venkatesh while granting police protection to Reliance JioInfocomm to erect the tower in a property leased to it in Coimbatore.

In the year 2019, the Bombay High Court had also observed that there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating any identifiable risk of serious harm on account of non-ionized radiation emanating from TCS/BS and equipments for telecommunication network.

However, last year, the Calcutta High Court had stayed the construction of Jio mobile tower in the event that the local self-governing authorities did not comply with the clause 4A of the Advisory Guidelines regarding the installation of the tower. Further, the court also found that the authorities did not invite objections from the people in the immediate vicinity of the site of the proposed mobile tower.

Recently, while refusing to issue mandamus to the respondents for shifting the Mobile Tower to another place, the Uttarakhand High Court said that it is neither the responsibility, nor the duty of the Court to run the administration

Last month, the Madras High Court ordered compensation to the parents of a 22 years old boy, who died due to electrocution after stepping on snapped live wire.

Case title - Nethaji v. Union Of India and others [WP(MD) No.18308 of 2020 and WMP(MD)No.15297 of 2020]

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