People up in arms against Chennai airport expansion project

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Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, Jan 21 (UNI) About 500 people, including 300 women, today laid a siege to the district collectorate in protest against the expansion of the Chennai international airport, fearing acquisition of their land.

Agitators from Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Kerugambakkam, Tharapakkam and Kovur, under the banner United People's Right to Life Movement, resorted to the stir, demanding that the authorities concerned reconsider the expansion project.

Headed by the Movement Secretary Brinda, they submitted a memorandum to District Collector Santosh K Mishra, demanding scrapping of the expansion project and go ahead only with the greenfield airport project.

The proposal to expand the airport across river Adyar and on its banks would displace people in Porur, Madhanandapuram, Mugalivakkam, Moulivakkam, Panicherry, Kovur, Kerugambakkam, Tharapakkam, Anagaputhur, Pammal, Polichalur, Kowl Bazaar and Manapakkam villages.

The Rs 2,350 crore modernisation and expansion works at the airport, to be carried out by the Airports Authority of India, include creation of a parallel runway, taxiways, aprons and new passenger handling buildings.

The Government had announced provision of suitable compensation to the displaced, besides rehabilitating them in the first phase of the project itself.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had announced setting up of a new greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur and Tiruvallur taluks, apart from the expansion of the existing airport at Meenambakkam.

UNI XR GD SP ND1632

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