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Land acquisition process gathers momentum

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Ministry of Defence agrees “in principle” to provide about 337 acres

With the land acquisition process for the airport expansion being set in motion recently, the Ministry of Defence has agreed “in principle” to provide about 337 acres of its land for the project in exchange for land of equal value from the State government.

The airport expansion plan of the Airports Authority of India had remained grounded for several years now owing to the delay in land acquisition. The Airports Authority of India had sought about 683.32 acres of land, which included about 337.70 acres of Defence land, for the expansion project. The proposal includes a plan to expand the runway from 8,000 feet to 12,500 feet to enable wide-bodied aircrafts to operate out of the airport.

The State government had recently accorded administrative sanction for acquiring about 345.62 acres of land, including wetlands, on the rear side of the airport, for the expansion project. Revenue officials have recently begun the process of acquisition by issuing notices to property owners whose lands are to be acquired.

With the process of getting the Defence land taken up separately, Tiruchi MP P. Kumar had recently met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and impressed on her the need for expediting the transfer of the land.

K.Gunasekaran, Airport Director, told The Hindu that a communication has been received from the Deputy Director General Defence Estates a couple of days ago stating that in principle approval has been granted for providing 337.7 acres of land to the AAI for expansion and development of the airport in lieu of land of “equal value” from the State government. The communication says that land of equal value would be acceptable to the Ministry in any of the places listed, which included Sulur in Coimbatore, Kodiyakarai in Nagapattinam, Chennai or Tiruchi. The AAI has been requested to coordinate with the State government in the process, he said.


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