Thursday, July 12, 2007

Residents air grievances over airport expansion project

Manapakkam people want their houses to be saved
MLA says efforts are on to mitigate their agony

KANCHEEPURAM: A group of people, accompanied by Sriperumpudur MLA D.Yasodha, made a representation to Collector Pradeep Yadav on Wednesday, asking him to take measures to ensure that their dwelling units at Manapakkam were not disturbed while implementing the Chennai airport expansion project.

They pointed out that several of them, who have retired from defence, civil, professional and other government services, had invested their hard-earned money in the housing project which was promoted by a Kilpauk-based real estate company during 2003-04.

The residents urged the Collector to suggest some modifications in the expansion project proposed by the Airports Authority of India.

They wanted their dwelling units, constructed at a cost of Rs.15 lakh to Rs.30 lakh, to be saved from demolition.

“Runway may be unused”

They said that the NAAI had rejected thrice the suggestion to acquire lands from Manapakkam, Tharapakkam, Kolapakkam and Gerugembakkam for the project on the ground that the soil condition was not suitable.

But they wondered how the Airports Authority of India had given its consent now.
The runway to be laid in the area to be acquired after demolishing a part of their township was not going to be used for landing of flights.

The residents said enquiries, made by them with officials concerned, had revealed that the proposed extension of runway would remain unused, once greenfield airport came up near Sriperumpudur.

Technical alterations

Since the expansion project was going to be a temporary add-on facility for the infrastructure at the Chennai airport, they pleaded that suitable technical alterations in the runway sketch be considered.

Another 100-odd families have booked their individual villas, each costing around Rs.50 lakh to Rs.65 lakh, with the same promoter, who had obtained clearance for the second phase of the housing project in the same area from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority in March 2006, the people said.

The CMDA, in its letter, had said the proposed site for the second phase of housing project was “not affected as per the latest list”.

But the entire second-phase area had now been notified for land acquisition for the airport expansion project, they lamented.

Lands identified

Talking to reporters later, Ms. Yasodha said efforts had been made to mitigate the mental agony of the residents of Manapakkam township and that the Government had now identified suitable lands at Manapakkam itself instead of relocating the people to Manimangalam.


Meanwhile, enquiries reveal that the District Collector had assured that necessary steps would be initiated to redress the residents’ grievances.


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