‘Nobody informed us we are going to lose our land’: Parandur residents protest Chennai airport plan

Greater than two weeks since Chief Minister MK Stalin introduced that Chennai’s second airport will likely be constructed at Parandur, residents are anxious to know the place their future is headed.

It was by way of tv information that the individuals of Parandur village, positioned at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, first got here to know that they may quickly find yourself dropping their properties. Greater than two weeks since Chief Minister MK Stalin introduced that Chennai’s second airport will likely be constructed at Parandur, the residents are anxious to know the place their future is headed. The dearth of readability relating to the realm of land being acquired, the compensation they might or could not obtain and, most of all, the bureaucratic apathy, have all added to their woes.

Overwhelmed and panicked, many individuals from Eganapuram, Nagapattu and Parandur villages employed 5 buses, and took to the Kanchipuram District Collector’s workplace on August 8 in a bid to get some solutions, however solely to be stopped midway. “We tried to satisfy the District Collector after we noticed the information [about the second airport] on TV channels. However we had been stopped at Ponnerikarai, and we needed to reroute to Kanchipuram through one other entrance to succeed in the Collector’s workplace. It took us two hours to succeed in there,” says Balaji, a businessman primarily based in Nagapattu.

After they arrived on the Collector’s workplace, solely 5 individuals had been allowed inside, Balaji tells TNM. “Their response was very disagreeable. They informed us that if we bought to know concerning the airport through information, we should always ask media homes for particulars. That they had no info to present us. Additionally they made no effort to grasp our state of affairs or soothe our confusion. We didn’t anticipate such a response from them,” he says.

Within the meantime, actual property brokers have jumped in to capitalise on the chance, says Balaji. “After the airport announcement, many actual property corporations began to name individuals within the space. I, too, obtained a couple of calls. They informed us that people won’t be able to method the federal government to get the compensation, and so requested us to promote our lands to them if we needed ‘correct’ compensation. With no correct communication from the federal government, many individuals would possibly imagine what these businesses say. They could even find yourself promoting their lands to those companies as a result of worry of dropping their lands with poor compensation,” he factors out.

A ‘public listening to’ in identify

Ultimately, it was after the villagers in Parandur got here collectively to move a decision in opposition to the proposed airport on August 15, Monday, that the district administration lastly appeared to relent, and permit the residents into the loop. As directed by the administration, the respective Village Administrative Officers (VAO) knowledgeable the individuals within the neighbourhood {that a} public listening to had been scheduled at 9 am on Tuesday to resolve their grievances. That was how quite a few involved residents of Parandur and adjoining areas ended up ready for as much as three hours on the District Collector’s workplace on the morning of August 16, just for a majority of them to be turned away.

The listening to was as an alternative held within the presence of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) get together members, a couple of choose residents from 13 villages within the area, and three ministers — Thangam Thennarasu (Industries), EV Velu (Public Works) and TM Anbarasan (Rural Industries), a mere half an hour after the humiliated villagers left the Collectorate. They weren’t even knowledgeable that the Ministers will likely be attending the assembly, they are saying.

Residents on the Kanchipuram Collector’s workplace  (Picture: Particular Association) 

Pattabiraman, a Madras Excessive Courtroom lawyer and a resident of Thandalam village, nonetheless, asserts that they aren’t prepared to surrender their land or depart their place. “But when the federal government goes to disregard our opinion, we should always at the very least get a compensation of Rs 5 lakh per cent of land and Rs 15 lakh per home,” he tells TNM. Pattabiraman was one among the many few residents who had been in a position to work together with the ministers throughout the public listening to on Tuesday. “From what we learnt, the (administration) initially needed to satisfy individuals from all villages. However later they introduced that they might meet individuals from completely different villages individually, in order that they will dilute the protest and our spirit. It’s to guarantee that we don’t fall into their lure that we determined to stroll away from the general public listening to. Later, our village head requested me to take part in a gathering with ministers,” he provides.

Why Parandur?

In keeping with Stalin’s assertion on August 2, Chennai’s Meenambakkam airport handles 2.2 crore passengers yearly. After its enlargement plans are realised over the subsequent seven years, the airport will be capable to deal with as much as 3.5 crore passengers. “The proposed airport in Parandur, in the meantime, will be capable to deal with 10 crore passengers yearly. It is going to have two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, aprons, cargo terminals, and different infrastructure, all at an estimated finances of Rs 20,000 crore,” the assertion reads. It provides that they’ve additionally thought-about the rising variety of passengers and demand for cargo companies within the Meenambakkam airport, moreover fulfilling the state’s want for home and worldwide flight companies, primarily based on which the TIDCO (Tamil Nadu Industrial Growth Company) was assigned the duty to zero in on a high quality spot. That was how Parandur was chosen.

However Mythili, a resident of Nagapattu, asserts that the residents don’t want a second airport. “The place is the federal government planning to present new lodging to the individuals of Parandur? Have they got any concept what they’re making an attempt to do? We can’t hand over our farming lands and the federal government ought to cease pressuring us to take action,” says Mythili. “What would you do if we stopped doing agriculture right here? The place would you go for meals?” If the federal government is so cussed about constructing the airport right here, they will do it over our burials, she says. “They’ll raze our homes with JCBs and bulldozers and kill us to get to the second airport.”

Like Mythili, many individuals within the space harbour a resentment in the direction of the way in which by which authorities officers have been approaching the matter of a second airport. “Some younger males within the village have voiced their protest in opposition to this challenge. However native politicians have threatened to slap them with the POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and Goondas Act in the event that they stage their protest,” one other resident tells TNM on the situation of anonymity.

Dilli Babu, a businessman settled in Chennai, is aggrieved that an airport being constructed at Parandur would imply he would lose all connection together with his homeland. “That is my homeland. My father and forefathers lived right here and we’ve got a connection to this soil. Despite the fact that we settled in Chennai, we nonetheless name this place residence. This isn’t a matter of cash. We don’t need to lose our land,” he says.

Parandur Panchayat President Balaraman has determined to face by his individuals on this regard. “All of us heard concerning the airport coming to our village by way of information channels. Nobody from the administration visited us to convey such an vital matter,” he says, including that agriculture is a crucial livelihood choice for the individuals dwelling within the Parandur space. “The individuals listed below are asking me what they might do if their land was acquired for the airport building. I’m standing with my individuals right here. Their determination is my determination,” he says.

Environmental influence

Moreover, it isn’t simply the native residents who’ve raised their considerations relating to the proposed second airport. A number of environmentalists too have made clear their objections, stating that the challenge would considerably influence the realm’s water sources, for the reason that proposed website has many lakes and wetlands.

Chennai-based naturalist and activist Yuvan Aves highlights a number of considerations on this regard. “The primary query is how far more fossil gasoline will likely be consumed if this second airport is materialised, as a result of these flight companies and the local weather disaster are deeply interconnected. Secondly, will we even want a second airport? It is just often that there’s a rise within the passenger numbers past the present capability. The third matter is the ecological significance of wetlands, which includes as much as 90% of the proposed website. Income classifications point out these locations as Meikkal Poramboke (grazing lands), lakes and agriculture land, however all of those are wetlands solely,” he says.

Proposed Parandur Airport
Farmers ploughing the sector in Parandur Panchayat (TNM Picture by Nithya Pandian)

Yuvan provides that the livelihoods of farmers and cattle rearers, in addition to the lives of migratory birds must also be considered whereas launching improvement tasks. These birds may cause flight collisions, which raises considerations about flight security as nicely, he says. “On one hand, we’re itemizing our wetlands beneath Ramsar websites for conservation, and on the opposite, we’re destroying wetlands for large tasks like this. This is able to influence the complete ecological situation of the village,” he says.

Captain A (Mohan) Ranganathan, former airline teacher pilot and aviation security adviser, factors out that the selection of website for airport building might additionally finally result in an increase in flooding. “Presently, the lakes and wetlands right here assist stop floods throughout the northeast monsoon. But when the complete space will get cemented with concrete, what do you assume will occur? If there is no such thing as a approach for the streams and lakes to succeed in the rivers and drain the surplus water, the entire surrounding areas will likely be flooded,” he says.

“Moreover, for the reason that proposed website has many lakes and wetlands, the soil might be clayish. To make the muse of the airport sturdy sufficient, additional quantities of cash must be spent,” he provides.

As well as, it’s also vital for the federal government to get defence clearance earlier than going forward with the airport plan, says Ranganathan. “The proposed airport is positioned simply 10 miles away from the Arakkonam naval air station, which is the largest maritime patrolling base in south India. To get permission, it ought to be positioned 25 miles from the naval base. So, I believe getting a defence clearance for this area is unattainable,” he explains.

Want for a brand new airport?

It’s hardly an on a regular basis situation for an airport to be crammed with individuals to the brim, says Capt Ranganathan. The truth is, within the coming days, as a consequence of numerous causes together with the hike in jet gasoline costs, the air journey is more likely to scale back, he says. “There isn’t any one to account for the distinction between the projection and precise passengers. What if the projection fee is one crore passengers, and in actuality it’s simply 35 lakhs,” he asks.

In keeping with Ranganathan, there is no such thing as a level in increasing airports and establishing new ones — positively not by taking into consideration individuals’s impulsive journey plans after the COVID-19 pandemic. “The value hike must also be thought-about. Beforehand, it price Rs 3000 to fly to Delhi from Chennai. Have a look at the costs now. How many individuals can afford it? The estimation of 10 crore passengers is unattainable to attain,” he says.

Moreover, not many individuals are going to choose Parandur even when it turns into absolutely purposeful, he says. “If it takes an individual 2.5 hours to succeed in Parandur, then wouldn’t they quite journey one other 2.5 hours to succeed in the Bengaluru airport, which has extra flights to completely different locations,” he asks. “The federal government is saying that one can go from Chennai to Parandur in simply 1.5 hours. However in actuality, we’ve got to journey 1.5 hours to only attain Guindy from Enjampakkam. Even when they’re planning to assemble extra highways and launch excessive velocity trains to scale back the time of the journey, all that may take one other seven to 10 years.”

Watch: Chennai’s second airport leaves Parandur residents anxious over their destiny

Supply hyperlink