Chennai: Social activist Medha Patkar has urged the government to de-notify the land that it had notified for the airport expansion project. Addressing a public meeting at Manapakkam on Wednesday, Ms Patkar said the 850.81 acres, not required by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), should be de-notified so that the residents can lead a peaceful life.
The AAI had earlier planned to construct a parallel runway to the existing one, but in 2011, it decided to scrap the project and make do with a secondary runway. However, the state government, which notified 1,069.99 acres of land in the villages of Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Gerugampakkam, Thorapakkam and Kovur, for acquisition in 2007, has not yet de-notified the unused land.
In a letter dated November 15, 2011, Mr S. Raheja, AAI member (planning), had informed the state government to de-notify the unused land. “Seventeen months is not a long period, but with so much of land-grabbing cases present across the country, it is the duty of the state government to return the land to its original owners and developers,” said Ms Patkar.
“More than 5,000 residents have been displaced due to the notification. From 2007, we have been burdened with a lot of financial problems. Nobody is able to resume construction of the left over buildings and people are living on rent and paying loan installments,” said Ms Brindha Brighton, secretary of United People’s Forum for Survival.
She added that 56 acres of agricultural land in Kovur remains unused due to the delay in the de-notification process and farmers were suffering. She added that many residents were not able to sell their houses due to the notified tag.