Acquisition of land in their villages, for setting up a greenfield airport at Parandur, would lead to ‘destruction’ of agriculture and eliminate the region’s ‘self-reliant’ economy, farmers opposing the project in their backyard said in a representation to the Tamil Nadu government.
The project area covers ‘bird migration routes’ and it is closer to INS Rajali Naval Air Station and hence not suitable for an airport, they said.
The flow of water of a natural water channel, that carries surplus flood waters to Kosasthalai river, would be prevented leading to inundation of 30 surrounding villages and ‘incalculable farm and economic losses’ considering flooding.
The project would lead to complete displacement of people in five villages, including the ancient Ekanapuram village.
“We will be left with grief and pain,” as there will be no suitable livelihood opportunities elsewhere, they said.
Listing out several such factors against setting up the airport in their neighbourhood, farmers of Ekanapuram village in Kancheepuram district said farming activities, which is the lifeline of their area, would be completely eliminated.
In the representation, the farmers requested the government to scrap the proposal to set up the greenfield airport at Parandur near Sriperumbudur and choose an area that would not have any adverse impact.
Already, for projects like the one for setting up a SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu) industrial complexes in Kancheepuram district, large tracts of land was acquired in the past by the government.
In the remaining portion of land in the district, agriculture is being carried out, which is ensuring food security and a ‘self-sufficient’ local economy. “Destroying this (land, used for agriculture and the overall economy) as well for the airport project does not augur well,” the representation said.
The project, if implemented, would adversely affect the ecology, the natural water resources. The region forms part of the Palar River basin’s drainage system and they have been living in the area for generations, the farmers said.
Proposed construction activities for the project would have a larger than expected negative impact as the region is dotted with ‘4,000 plus waterbodies of various kinds’ and water channels, canals and water bodies would be seriously affected, they claimed.
In essence, the project would wreak havoc in the lives of local people, environment and lead to the displacement of villagers.
L Elango, organiser of Federation for the Welfare of Ekanapuram Residents and Farmers, told reporters that the memorandum has been submitted to the government during talks held on December 20. During the second round of talks, a group of Ministers on Tuesday apprised farmers of Kancheepuram district, who are opposed to the project, that an expert committee would examine geological and hydrological features of areas in and around Parandur near Sriperumbudur, where a greenfield airport is proposed to be set up.
People who oppose the airport project in their neighbourhood, however, said they would continue to protest till the government announced that the new airport would not come up in their villages. It was the 148th day of protest on December 21. The first round of talks with farmers was held on October 15 at the Secretariat.
On August 2, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin announced that a second airport for the city would come up at Parandur near Sriperumbudur at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore, with an annual capacity of 10 crore passengers.
The land acquisition initiative for the project is proposed in 13 revenue villages, six of which fall in Sriperumbudur taluk and the rest are located in Kancheepuram taluk. Both the taluks are in Kancheepuram district.