Chennai’s Second Airport: Delays Continue As Project Awaits Site Clearance From Centre


The construction of the second airport for Chennai, which is planned to be a greenfield project in Parandur, Kancheepuram district, is awaiting site clearance from the Centre.

In response to a query raised by DM Kathir Anand (DMK) in the Lok Sabha regarding the progress of the airport construction, Gen VK Singh (retired), the Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Civil Aviation, stated that the proposal has been forwarded to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Airports Authority of India (AAI), and the Ministry of Defence for their feedback.

Gen Singh mentioned in his response that once the consultation with the stakeholders is completed, the proposal will be presented to the Steering Committee on Greenfield Airports for their recommendation on granting site clearance.

The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) submitted the proposal for site clearance to the steering committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation several months ago.

In February of this year, the Minister, in a written response to DMK MP P Wilson, confirmed that the Ministry was reviewing the application and engaging in consultations with AAI, DGCA, and MoD on the matter.

According to the Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy, 2008, Gen Singh explained that issues such as funding or land acquisition were the responsibility of the State government, reports The Hindu.

Chief Minister M K Stalin said that the new airport would be built with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore with a capacity to handle 100 million passengers per annum.

“The airport that would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore, will have two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, aprons and cargo terminals,” the statement released by CM read.

Location of Parandur with a line showing its shortest road route to Chennai city centre (Google Maps)

Greenfield Airport at Parandur benefits Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, and Chengalpattu, as well as the expanding demands of south Indian states.

A new airport is essential for connecting Chennai to other significant cities in the State and the nation and capitalising on global growth.

The project will cost 20,000 crore rupees. The state government has chosen Parandur, 69 kilometres from Chennai, as the location for a new airport that will be built on 4,700 acres to accommodate passenger traffic for the next 30 to 35 years.

Once the work is fully completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle 35 million passengers.

High-Level Committee

The project with a total area of 4,791 acres covering about 13 villages has seen vociferous protests with residents consistently objecting to it as they will have to give up their land, severely affecting their livelihoods.

Also, out of the total land area required for the airport, more than 50 per cent (2,605 acres) are wetlands. Many activists and experts, apart from the villagers, had voiced their dissent, fearing that it may cause serious damage to the environment.

To put things into perspective, residents of Ekanapuram village, one of the 13 villages to be affected by the Parandur airport passed a resolution against the project during a gram sabha meeting held on 26 January this year — this was the fourth time such a resolution was passed.

Subsequently, the state government assured the setting up of a technical committee to analyse and recommend measures for mitigating the impact and conserving water bodies and also find an effective solution for the land acquisition issues for the villagers, including the farmers.

Following this, in March 2023, a seven-member high-level committee (HLC) was constituted to look into the environmental and land acquisition issues.

The committee headed by a retired IAS officer has hydrogeological experts from IIT Madras and Anna University and officials from the State government including the Water Resources Department, TIDCO, Kancheepuram Collectorate and Commissionerate of Land Administration.