Parandur airport to gobble up 1,000 acres of waterbodies: Farmers

G Subramani, secretary of Ekanapuram village residents and farmers welfare federation, said that more than 4,500 acres of land will be taken for the airport.
Villagers during the  protest
Villagers during the protest

CHENNAI: While the protest against the proposed new airport in Parandur near 80 days, the farmers highlight - at a seminar in Chennai - the facility would gobble up 1,000 acres of water bodies, including a Pallava era canal.

G Subramani, secretary of Ekanapuram village residents and farmers welfare federation, said that more than 4,500 acres of land will be taken for the airport. "Of the 4,500 acres, as much as 2,500 acres are agricultural land. Around 1,350 acres are government poramboke land, including 1,000 acres of lakes, ponds, canals and other waterbodies," he said at the seminar organised by Poovulagin Nanbargal, on Sunday.

He added that Kamban Canal was created by Pallava King Kambavarman 1,000 years ago. The 43-kilometre canal originates from a dam across Palar River in Kaveripakkam and carries water to Sriperumbudur Lake before filling 85 lakes on its course. The canal continues up to Chembarambakkam lake that supplies drinking water to the city. "Seven kilometres of Kamban Canal falls under the project area. Around 35 lakes, 10 ponds and other water bodies in the 13 villages will be completely destroyed."

Speaking about the loss of livelihood, Subramani pointed out that most of the villagers are agricultural labourers and they will lose their livelihood if agricultural lands acquired for the airport.

Retired justice Hariparanthaman alleged that the State government will only acquire the land and hand it over to the central government for the construction of the airport. "Once completed, the airport will be given to private corporate companies. If villagers, especially women, protest against the project, it could be stopped," he said.

On the other hand, G Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal pointed out that several air strips in the state like Arakkonam, Hosur, Neyveli, Cholavaram, Salem, Sulur and others could be developed into new airports.

"If the government wants to construct a new airport in Chennai, it should expand the existing airport by taking over OTA land nearby. If water bodies are destroyed, it will cause floods and drought in the city," he warned.

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