Persistent problems with land acquisition may force construction of a second international airport for Chennai at the outlying township of Sriperumbudur, much earlier than planned. The date for giving the capital of State of Tamil Nadu a new airport has now been advanced to 2015, about nine years earlier than originally planned.
The greenfield project will be taken up on 4,822 acres of land near Sriperumbudur, northwest of Chennai, at an estimated cost of Rs3,500 crore mainly because of unexpected resistance relating to land acquisition in the Rs2,350-crore modernisation and expansion project of the Kamaraj International Airport at Meenambakkam in the city of Chennai.
According to State government officials, the search for a private consortium to build the airport is likely to commence soon. It is expected that the private consortium will be offered a 74 per cent stake, while the State and central government retain 13 per cent each.
The State government has expressed its difficulty in acquiring the required 1,069 acres of land west of the Adyar river to build a parallel runway as part of phase-II of the Meenambakkam expansion plan. Officials feel they may not be able to acquire more than 300 acres of the land, as costs have become prohibitively high.
Costs apart, there also problems in freeing the area of habitation entirely.