Friday, June 8, 2007

Message in Indian Express

CHENNAI: Barely a week ago, the residents of Marvel Riverview County at Manapakkam, were happily chalking out plans to make the enclave of 140 two-storeyed independent houses green.Now, they are blaming their fate as the district administration has notified that at least 80 occupied houses and several others that are under- construction will be acquired for expansion of the airport.

Located close to the west bank of Adayar river, the colony has majority of houses, which would be acquired for the airport project from Manapakkam panchayat. Meanwhile, the residents of the enclave, who have purchased the houses worth Rs 35 to Rs 40 lakh each using housing loans from major bankers, have appealed to the district administration to exempt them from acquisition. ‘‘The land that falls in the survey numbers 393, 395 and 397 totalling 3.97 acres will be in the periphery of the expanded airport campus. Hence, we are hoping to get the district administration to exempt us. If they can change the plan a little bit, we will be saved,’’ said Venugopal, president, Marvel Riverview County Owners Welfare Association.

As soon as the announcement came about the land acquisition, the builder had stopped constructing the rest of the houses in phase two. This has also affected construction in the panchayat where several builders have proposed residential projects.

In the last two years, Manapakkam has emerged as a preferable residential area because of its proximity to Porur and Guindy. The residents are retired officers from defence and State and Central Government services, who have purchased the property lured by the peaceful and quiet ambience of the locality. A few families have moved into their new houses just two months ago, said Colonel Balakrishan, a retired Army officer. Four years ago, there was a move to acquire land for airport expansion, which got cancelled after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) maintained that the land was not fit for use. What irks the residents is that many of them decided to purchase the houses believing the letter from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) on March 2006, which said that the site bearing the survey numbers would not be acquired. As the residents have invested their life savings, they did not want to move out.
‘‘Most of the houses marked for the airport falls in the Riverview County. The rest are either vacant or wet land,’’ said Pandian, president, Manapakkam panchayat.
Pradeep Yadav, District Collector, Kancheepuram, said that the survey numbers published were only an indicative list and not final and hence the residents need not worry. The alignment of the land would be finalised after considering the requirement of the Airports Authority of India.

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