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We have heard that 20,000 trees are to be cut down and several water bodies are to be built upon, while constructing the proposed six lane highway (NH - 716B) connecting Thatchur (Chennai) and Chitoor (Andhra Pradesh)!

The 126.5 kilometre road as part of the the Chennai-Kurnool highway is among the NHAI's newest project proposals. This is not unlike so many other highway projects across the country, which are axing down millions of trees.

As per the draft environment impact assessment released by the government,  this proposed project will cause serious environmental and social consequences in the region through which the highway will be constructed.The impacts/damages incurred, according to media reports and the released EIA, will be the following -

1. About 20,000 trees will be axed, largely on forest land.
2. About 673 hectares (1,663 acres) of fertile agricultural land of the Thiruvallur belt will be acquired, threatening the livelihoods and causing the displacement of thousands of farmers.
3. 45 hectares of water bodies, - lakes, ponds and river beds, will be constructed upon, causing water scarcity in summer and floods during the monsoons.

Already, people from 26 villages in the affected areas have voiced their opposition and have petitioned the Collector, the NHAI and the CM of Tamil Nadu, following land acquisition notices issued around 8 months ago.In the meantime, the economic and social plight of farmers across the state is growing graver each year due to large scale conversion of agricultural land for 'development'.

 Chennai and its surroundings, this summer, have faced one of the worst water scarcities in history and also their hottest periods. Experts attribute much of this to losing the city's waterbodies to development and poor urban planning, along with rampant deforestation.

 The proposed Salem-Chennai Expressway and the Chennai Metro Rail projects taking over the city's green spaces are recent examples of environmental violations that will be detrimental to our future generations, if we do not act now!


Do sign this petition and show your support in urging the government to deeply reconsider the NH-716B highway. Sign to urge the prioritizing of the welfare of people and environment, over economic development. We call each citizen to come forward, at this crucial  time when climate emergencies are being announced all over the world, to stand-up for our trees, our waterbodies and our wild spaces!