Residents of the Eknapuram, Gunagarambakkam, Thandalam and Parandur villages near Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram district passed a resolution at a Grama Sabha meeting on Sunday against the state government’s proposal to build an airport in Parandur.
The resolution is part of the protests by the residents who fear the proposed greenfield airport would destroy their livelihoods. The new airport for Chennai is proposed to be built about 59 km from the airport at Meenambakkam.
The Grama Sabha, convened on Gandhi Jayanti, placed the resolution on the pedestal of a B R Ambedkar statue after officials of the Sriperumbudur town panchayat who attended it initially refused to accept the resolution, according to Balaji, a businessman and farmer based in Nagapattu.
Residents of Parandur and surrounding areas have been protesting against the proposed airport for over 65 days. The villagers unanimously demanded the government look for alternative sites during a public hearing.
Though the government promises 3.5 times the market value for their land and employment, the protesting residents believe the airport will affect their households, agriculture and waterbodies.
This is the second Grama Sabha resolution against the airport.
L Elango, a farmer and resident of Ekanapuram, said, “A government’s job is to uplift people and not to push them to the streets. Has any government anywhere completely wiped off an entire village? This government wants to do that. They say they will provide us more money for land. We do not want that. What will a farmer do with the money? He needs land to do agriculture. Will the government give us land? For one runway, 600 households are going to be demolished. We have passed the resolution again as it will come handy when we take the legal route.”
In August, Chief Minister M K Stalin announced the airport would be built at Parandur at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore.
The new airport is touted to have two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, an apron, a cargo terminal and other necessary infrastructure. A total of 4,563.56 acres of land would be acquired for the airport and 1,005 households would be affected.