Voices of Ekanapuram grow stronger against Greenfield airport

To grab further attention of the government, earlier, the students of three villages --Ekanapuram, Nelvoy, Meleri and Nagapattu - boycotted schools.
Details of the proposed airport project
Details of the proposed airport project Varghese Kallada

CHENNAI: "Vendum Vivasayaam, Vendam Vimana Nilayam" (we need our lands and not an airport),“ was the voice of Parandur villagers when DT Next visited the location, which will host Chennai's Greenfield airport.

On August 2, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said the government is all set to get its second airport at Parandur, which would come up near Sriperumbudur at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The new airport would have two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, aprons, and a cargo terminal, and can host 10 crore passengers.

Soon after this, villagers of Ekanapuram and other neighbouring localities in the Kancheepuram district have been holding peaceful protests to show their strong demand against the government's proposal.

A board that mentions about the number of days of protest
A board that mentions about the number of days of protest

Why Ekanapuram?

Unlike any other villages, most of Ekanapuram will be acquired for the construction and around 800 houses spread across 867.41 acres will be destroyed.

"No official authorities such as the District Collector or State Minister came up and nobody visited our village. They are just playing with our future without knowing the seriousness of our livelihood," said Raja, a farmer from the village

"Police check posts have been beefed up in all areas of the Parandur village due to an increase in the number of protests. Do we look like a murderer or thieves? We just wanted justice to get back to our peaceful life. Police personnel has been deployed to treat us like a terrorist," Mani added.

Sekar, a resident of the village claimed that they sought a realignment of one of the airport runways of the Greenfield airport to save hundreds of houses in their village.

"Though the government has announced that they will offer 3.5 times the market value of the land being acquired, do we get our satisfied life back? we're ready to give you the money for this project, go build your airport project somewhere else," he said.

However, in the public hearing meeting conducted, the people of the 13 villages urged the government to provide additional compensation and employment for them.

A woman working on her farmland
A woman working on her farmland

Students boycott schools:

To grab further attention of the government, earlier, the students of three villages --Ekanapuram, Nelvoy, Meleri and Nagapattu -- boycotted schools.

"Officials held talks with us and the village head asking us to send our wards to schools. We agreed to it after promising to arrange a meeting with the government," Ashok, a farmer of Ekanapuram

A school in Ekanapuram
A school in Ekanapuram

Government's stand:

As Tamil Nadu is claiming that the airport project puts the State on course to attain the $ 1 trillion economy goal, Minister for Public Works EV Velu said that the government has decided to provide 350 per cent of the market value of the land which will be taken for the project.

About the project:

The Parandur airport would be 70 kilometres to the Southwest of Chennai Central and 59 km to the Southwest of the existing Chennai International Airport.

Over 4,783 acres of land covering Parandur, Valathur, Kodavur, Nelvoy, Ekanapuram, Thandalam, Madapuram, Singilipadi, Gunakarapakkam, Edaiyarpakkam, Akkamapuram, Thiaganapuram, and Mahadevimangalam have been earmarked for the airport project.

Acquisition of land for Chennai's second airport

Total land and acquired land
Total land and acquired land

The Tamil Government stated that it is planning to acquire 4,563.56 acres of land for the Parandur airport project, in which 3,246.38 acres of land are private Patta land and 1,317.18 acres are classified as government poramboke land.

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