Parandur airport row: IIT-M and Anna University to conduct a feasibility study

The meeting came at a time when the residents of the 13 villages marched toward the Kancheepuram District Collector’s office, waving black flags in protest on December 19.
Parandur Airport Row
Parandur Airport Row
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Representatives from Parandur and 12 other neighbouring villages which have been earmarked for the construction of the second airport to Chennai, met Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Ministers and Congress MLA in the state secretariat on Tuesday, December 20. Protesters met Tamil Nadu Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu, Public Works Minister EV Velu and Minister for Rural Industries TM Anbarasan, and  Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Selvaperunthagai. The meeting came at a time when the residents of the 13 villages marched toward the Kancheepuram District Collector’s office, waving black flags in protest on December 19. This is the second meeting of the residents with the Ministers.

At the press meet held after the meeting, Subramanian, secretary of Ekanapuram People's and Farmers Welfare Federation, said that the evening protest would continue even though the government had promised that the project would begin only after conducting the feasibility study. “The Ministers have said that faculty members from Anna University and IIT-Madras would conduct the feasibility study along with the Water Resources Department to check whether the proposed site is suitable for the project. They have asked us to give our data and concerns to the faculty members when they visit the site for inspection,” he mentioned.

Subramanian said that the Kamban canal and the stream that runs in the Ekanapuram village would flood the neighbouring 30 villages if the proposed airport was built by blocking the canal that joins with the Kosasthalaiyar river. He said that residents had once again requested the government to withdraw the project and that the ecological issues surrounding the area made it unsuitable for the construction of the airport. He also said that the villagers were not keen on giving up their lands even if the feasibility report recommended going ahead with the project.

The residents of Parandur have been protesting ever since the announcement was made by Chief Minister MK Stalin on August 2. “The plan estimate for the new airport will be finalised after preparing the detailed project report (DPR). The tentative plan estimate as of now is Rs 20,000 crore,” the CM said in a statement. The state government has offered up to three times the market value for their land and properties but the residents have not relented.

Selvaperunthagai defended DMK’s decision to construct the airport in Parandur and alleged that the previous AIADMK government proposed multiple sites without considering the ecological and archaeological issues pertaining to the sites. “It was AIADMK that proposed multiple sites for the project without knowing whether sites were suitable for the project. The BJP Minister in Parliament announced that the airport will be constructed at Parandur. Now DMK is conducting a feasibility study to inspect the site,” Selvaperunthagai said.

It is to be noted that Pannur, Parandur, Thiruporur and Padalam were identified for the greenfield airport to Chennai and Parandur was finalised. On August 1 this year, in response to a question raised by Kanimozhi NVN Somu, a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh said the Tamil Nadu government had shortlisted Parandur as the site for the second airport for Chennai.

“I will stand with the people of Parandur if the report favours the government and will look into the alternatives of constructing the airport without damaging 600 houses in Ekanapuram,” Selvaperunthagai said. All agricultural land and residential properties in Ekanapuram have been identified for the construction of two runways for the airport.

Residents of Parandur intensified their protests after Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO) floated a tender, inviting international competitive bids from consultants to prepare a Detailed Techno-Economic Report (DTER) for the airport. The DTER is required to get statutory clearances and for conducting the bid process for the greenfield airport. TIDCO had, on November 15, denied a request by a Right to Information (RTI) activist to share the pre-feasibility report of the project. "The information sought is exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(a) (information, disclosure of which will affect interests of the state) of the RTI Act,” TIDCO said in response to the application filed by a Chennai-based activist.

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