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“Identify alternative land for airport expansion”

Special Correspondent

Villagers call present proposal to acquire land ’unilateral’

— PHOTO: A. MURALITHARAN

VOICING CONCERN: Residents of Gerugambakkam and nearby villages at the meeting held on Saturday.

TAMBARAM: A large number of residents of Gerugambakkam and adjoining villages near Porur met on Saturday, urging the State government and Airports Authority of India to identify and acquire vacant land for modernisation and expansion of the Chennai Airport land for developing a greenfield airport.

Residents of Gerugambakkam, Manapakkam, Thaarapakkam, Kolapakkam and Kovur villages, that are constituent villages of the Kunrathur Panchayat Union of Kancheepuram district, met at E.V.P. Town in Gerugambakkam.

They told reporters that the State government’s proposal to acquire more than 1,000 acres for the proposed expansion and modernisation of the airport came as a rude shock to them. Though the Centre had made it clear that a humane approach should be adopted during land acquisition for development works, the present proposal of the State government was unilateral, speakers at the meeting said.

Referring to a note issued by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority in June 2006, K. Balesh, a resident, said it was specifically mentioned that land coming under certain survey numbers in Gerugambakkam and Thaarapakkam villages were classified under ‘Primary Residential Use Zone and it is not affected by the proposed International Airport in Kancheepuram district’. But the same villages were now proposed to be acquired for the project.

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