TN govt “puppet” trying to serve corporates’ interests: Yadav

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CHENNAI, Sept 10 (PTI): Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav Monday hit out at the Tamil Nadu government over the controversial Salem-Chennai expressway, calling it a “puppet” trying to serve the interests of some corporates.

Yadav’s outburst comes days after his detention by police at Tiruvannamalai when he was proceeding to meet farmers affected due to the proposed Rs 10,000 crore eight lane project.

Addressing reporters here, Yadav said he and some of his colleagues had visited the state last week for a ‘fact-finding’ on the issue by interacting with farmers and others when he was detained at Tiruvannamalai.

Later, he had proceeded to meet the people and had arrived at some ‘conclusions,’ he said.

“It seems there is no public interest but only private interest. The project doesn’t look like one meant for local development but for some other metro city,” he said.

He said he saw “with my own eyes” alleged police high handedness on the issue.

“It appears that we have a puppet state in Tamil Nadu which is using police as a private army to benefit some corporates,” he charged.

The demands of Swaraj India on the project included more transparency, wider public debate and an “unbiased” bureaucracy as the police should not take sides, he said.

The various issues raised by people needed further investigation, he said, and urged public groups and other organisations to involve in this.

Earlier in the day, Yadav met Makkal Needhi Maiam founder-president Kamal Haasan and thanked him for extending support when he was detained.

The proposed expressway connecting Salem and Chennai is being opposed by a section of farmers and landowners who do not want to part with their land.

The project, a central initiative being implemented by the state government, aims to bring down the travel time between Salem and Chennai.

The state government has been insisting that it will also help address the issue of fatal accidents on this stretch, besides saving on fuel and vehicular wear and tear.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami has said compensation being offered to landowners was more compared to the past, as the guideline value has increased.

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