Monday, July 16, 2007

Construction activities frozen in airport expansion areas

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Government has frozen all building activities in the areas where it proposes to acquire land for expansion of the existing Chennai airport and for the construction of a new greenfield airport.

The State Transport Department has issued last week an order directing the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to freeze all construction activities in Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Gerugambakkam and Tharapakkam, all in the outskirts of the city, where 1069.99 acres is proposed to be acquired for the airport expansion project and also the approach areas after getting details from the Airport Authorities of India.

The freeze comes at a time, when the residents of some colonies in Manapakkam, whose houses now face demolition consequent on acquisition proceedings, have are protesting and have even petitioned the government for cancellation of the land acquisition notification.

The government has also directed freezing of construction in the areas falling within Sriperumbudur and Thiruvallur taluks of Kancheepuram district, which are to be acquired for the constrution of the greenfiled airport.

Simultaneously, the government has cancelled the GO issued for acquisition of lands in areas like Pozhichalur and Anakaputhur on the northern side of the existing Chennai airport, where the expansion work had originally been planned to be taken up.

Conseqwuent on this, the freeze on construction activities in these aras have also been revoked.The State Government had originally proposed to hand over more than 800 acres of land in the Pozhichalur-Anakaputhur belt, which had sparked off protracted and vociferous protests from the residents in these areas.

The pitch of the protests had risen higher when political parties like the CPM and PMK also threw their weight behind the residents.In fact there had been a running battle between the PMK and the DMK, with the former even accusing some nfluential persons in the DMK of having vested interest in the proposal.

However, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had defused the situation by convening an all-party meeting on May 22, which opted for expansion of the airport on the souther-western side of the airport and also a greenfield airport near Sriperumbudur.Subsequently, the government had issued notification for the lands to be acquired in these areas.


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