Madras High Court slammed the Central Government for issuing the government order (GO) that had allowed the lease of government land, including water bodies, to a private cement company.
The Court said that, “it’s like we are living in the colonial era and we are the zamindars of the land and hence, we can lease out the Himalayas. “
The matter dates back to 2009, when the Chettinad Cement Corporation Ltd. sought to occupy certain government land and also sought permission for the same. However, the company was later found illegally occupying the poramboke land, prompting the Sub Collector, Ariyalur to pass an order in 2015, directing Chettinad Cement to vacate the Government poramboke land.
A challenge to this 2015 order was dismissed both by the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court.
The concerned State authorities were directed to clear the government land of all encroachments.
While this case was pending, the State passed a GO in 2019 to lease government land to Chettinad Cement for a 30 year period from 2009. In view of this development, the single-judge hearing the contempt case eventually framed charges against IAS officers Atulya Misra and Gagandeep Singh Bedi.