Chennai Parandur Airport: Fierce Resistance From 13 Affected Villages As They Vow To Resist Project, Say It Will Gobble Up 1,000 Acres Of Waterbodies


On Sunday, residents of 13 villages, including Parandur, Ekanapuram, and Gunagarambakkam in Kancheepuram district, vowed to resist the DMK government’s plan to construct a greenfield international airport in their area.

In August this year, the state Chief Minister M K Stalin announced that a greenfield airport would be built on 4,971 acres in Parandur, located around 15 km northeast of Kanchipuram, at an investment of Rs 20,000 crore with a capacity to handle 100 million passengers per annum.

G Subramani, secretary of Ekanapuram village residents and farmers welfare federation, claimed 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 is agricultural land. Around 1,350 acres are government poramboke land, including 1,000 acres of lakes, ponds, canals and other waterbodies,” he said at a protest meeting organised by environmental protection organisation Poovulagin Nanbargal on Sunday.

Subramani said that most villagers are agricultural labourers and will lose their livelihood if agricultural lands are acquired for the airport.

“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.” Subramani further added.

Addressing the protestors, Justice Hariparanthaman, former judge of Madras High Court, alleged that the DMK government is acquiring the land so that it can hand it over to the Union 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 alleged.

G Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal said that the state government should abandon the plan to develop a greenfield airport in Parandur and instead explore the possibility of turning several airstrips in the state like Arakkonam, Hosur, Neyveli, Cholavaram, Salem, Sulur into new airports.

“Only about 20% of airport users were from Chennai city, the rest being from other parts of the State.” Sundarajan said.

“If the government wants to construct a new airport in Chennai, it should expand the existing airport by taking over OTA(Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) land nearby. If water bodies are destroyed, it will cause floods and drought in the city,” he warned.

Poovulagin Nanbargal also warned the state government of an ecological disaster if it goes ahead with constructing the airport in Parandur. The group released a seven-page report on October 7, 2022, against the state government’s plans to construct a second airport for Chennai.

“If the proposed airport is built, it will obstruct the flow of the 43 kilometre-long Kamban canal which fills nearly 85 lakes before emptying into the Sriperumbudur lake.” Poovulagin Nanbargal claimed in its report.

Poovulagin Nanbargal has frequently faced allegations that it is an organisation astroturfed by DMK leadership. The group was at the forefront of opposing several infrastructure projects announced by the previous ADMK government and the Union government. It played a prominent role, along with DMK and other political parties, in opposing the Salem expressway project proposed by NHAI.