Second airport for Chennai is the need of the hour, says minister Thangam Thennarasu – The Indian Express

Chennai News

Tamil Nadu Minister for Industries Thangam Thennarasu on Wednesday told the Assembly that it was imperative that a second airport be built for Chennai, and that the Parandur airport would not come up at the expense of the villagers.

“The existing airport at Chennai has the capacity to handle 22 million passengers per year and in 2028, it will be enhanced to 35 million. In 2008, Chennai airport was at the third spot in terms of passenger growth and now we are at the fifth spot. However, Bengaluru airport, which was at the fifth spot, has now moved to the third spot. Though the cargo traffic growth has increased at Chennai airport, it is still less than that in the neighbouring cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad,” the minister said.

He was responding to the questions raised by legislators on how the government would ensure that the livelihoods of the people in the 13 villages near the proposed airport site in Kancheepuram district would not be affected.

Thennarasu said the state needed a greenfield airport with all necessary infrastructure to meet the requirements for the next 30 years. “It will take eight years to for an airport to be operational. By 2035, the airport will be in a situation to handle 100 million passengers and the existing airport cannot cater to that need. So there is the need for a new airport as well,” he said.

The minister said there were many practical difficulties in expanding Chennai airport as it would require over 300 acres of land. He also said people should understand the economic benefits of the project as well. “Every Rs 100 spent on air transportation will generate revenue worth Rs 325. The new airport will pave the way for new runways. We can connect Chennai with South Asia and it can act like an airline hub,” he said.

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To counter the criticism that the proposed airport is too far from the existing one at Meenambakkam, the minister said the new airports coming up in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Goa and Delhi were similarly distant from the existing ones.

The minister said it would not be possible to construct a new airport near Chennai on non-farm land.


“In all neighbouring districts like Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, there are several waterbodies and farm land. We inspected close to 11 places before choosing Parandur. The Airport Authority of India finally chose four places and among the last two, Parandur was chosen because of its geographical structure, terrain, value of land and other technical reasons,” he said.

Over the past few days, security has been tightened in the 13 villages in view of residents’ protests against the airport. A protest in Eknapuram entered its 84th day on Wednesday.

The villagers have, however, called off a proposed march to the Assembly following a meeting with Thennarasu, Public Works Minister E V Velu and Rural Industries Minister T M Anbarasan at the secretariat on October 15. An eight-member delegation of the protesters was reportedly assured that Chief Minister M K Stalin would be apprised of the villagers’ grievances.

For the past three months or so, the residents have been gathering in the evening to protest, after returning from work. Some of them alleged that police stopped them on their way to work and checked their vehicles stringently.


L Elango, who was among those who met the ministers, said the security was tightened after the protesters announced the now-cancelled Assembly march.

“On Monday and Tuesday, there were many police personnel here. It has reduced a bit but still people are questioned. We spoke to senior police officers,” he said. Police deployed additional forces to watch out for outsiders looking to create trouble, he said he was told by the officers.

A resident of Nagapattu said checkposts had been set up in almost all entry points to the villages.

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The government had said a total of 4,563.56 acres of land would be acquired for the project, affecting as many as 1,005 households. Even though it has promised jobs and 3.5 times the market value for their land, the residents say they do not want to move elsewhere.