Fear of losing land to airport expansion makes residents pray for greenfield one
V Ayyappan TNN Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is not the only one on tenterhooks over the delay by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in submitting a feasibility report for the proposed greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur.
About 2,000 families too are keeping their fingers crossed. The ICAO was to submit the techno-feasibility report last month. For families in Manapakkam, Gerugambakkam, Kolapakkam and Kovur a nod for the greenfield airport means that their lands — otherwise marked for acquisition for expansion of the existing airport — would be saved.
The state government had earlier hinted that it would like to go ahead with the greenfield airport on 4,820.66 acres, because it found it difficult to acquire land northwest of the Adyar for building the parallel runway. While it would be tough to acquire even 300 acres, getting the earmarked 993 acres would cost more than Rs 2,000 crore.
So, the government wanted to acquire land for the new airport rather than expanding the existing one. A senior AAI official said “The ICAO report is yet to come.”
Though earlier studies showed that Sriperumbudur was suitable for construction of an airport, the government was keen on having the ICAO carry out a techno-economic feasibility study and also determine whether the airport could be operated simultaneously with the existing one.
The state government has decided to wait for the ICAO report before taking further steps to acquire the 993 acres to build the proposed parallel runway for the existing airport.
Airport director K Natarajan said, “Nothing has been decided about the greenfield airport. But the Indian Oil Corporation has anyway laid the jet fuel pipeline so that fuel can be supplied to the new airport when it is constructed.”
Meanwhile, residents have started demanding denotification of their lands. “Recent developments show that the government is keen to build a new airport. So it should not hold on to our land,” said Karthik, who had purchased land in the neighbourhood just before the government spelt out its acquisition plans.
“We have decided to send telegrams to the chief minister,” he said.
A senior Kancheepuram district administration official said they had not received intimation from the government to denotify the land marked for acquisition.
DECIDING FACTOR: The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is yet to submit its feasibility report for the greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur