CHENNAI: State Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu on Wednesday said that constructing a second airport in Chennai is necessary for the development of the State.
"We must understand why the airport in Parandur is necessary. At present, the passenger handling capacity of Chennai Airport is 22 million and in the 10 years, from 2009 to 2019, the passenger handling capacity increased by 9 per cent. By 2029, the passenger handling capacity is set to reach 35 million. The airport in Parandur is designed keeping in mind the development in next 30 to 35 years where the passenger handling capacity is set to reach 100 million,” said Thangam Thennarasu, while responding to the special calling attention motion introduced by MLAs of alliance parties and opposition parties.
T Velmurugan, Founder of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi, said that out of the total 4,600 acres of land to be acquired for the Parandur Airport, 2,666 acres belong to agricultural lands and so the State government should drop the plan of setting up the airport in Parandur. He also said that when former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister a land parcel for the airport was selected which had no agriculture lands and houses.
However, PMK floor leader GK Mani and Congress floor leader K Selvaperunthagai said that though the airport is necessary for the development the State government should ensure that livelihood of farmers is not affected and all the concerns of farmers are addressed.
Replying to the motion, Thangam Thennarasu said that in 2008, Chennai airport was third in passenger handling capacity but now it has slipped to fifth place and on the contrary Bengaluru airport has moved from fifth to third place. Also, from 2009 to 2019 there was only seven percent growth in cargo handling but in the same period the growth in cargo handling doubled in Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports.
The Minister also cited the examples of Visakhapatnam, Goa, Mumbai and Delhi and said that the second airports in major cities are constructed at a distance of around 60 kilometers from the original airports.
The Minister further said that the Parandur Airport will be developed without affecting the livelihood of farmers.