Land acquisition for rocket launch pad begins

2,300 acres to be acquired; temporary office set up to facilitate process & help public shift to alternative land

Published: 03rd December 2019 05:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2019 05:37 AM   |  A+A-

A map of areas earmarked for Kulasekarapattinam rocket launching site | Express

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: The land acquisition for India’s third rocket launching pad that began at three villages near Kulasekarapattinam in the district is in full swing now. Union Minister for Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space Jitendra Singh had informed the Rajya Saba about the Centre’s proposal to establish a rocket launching pad near Kulasekarapattinam in the district. Indian Space Research Organisations (ISRO) currently has two space ports at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and Thumba in Kerala.

The land for the proposed Kulasekarapattinam rocket launching pad project has been earmarked at Mathavankurichi, Padukapathu and Pallakurichi villages near Kulasekarapattinam here.Collector Sandeep Nanduri told TNIE that around 2,300 acres of land would be acquired for the facility. “A temporary office has been set up at Tiruchendur to facilitate acquisition and to convince the public to find alternative place. Eight units of revenue officials comprising 13 members each headed by a tahsildar have been deployed under an officer of the rank of District Revenue Officer (DRO) for the process,” he said.  

Nanduri said that works for the land was being acquired as per the provisions of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act, 2013), also called as Land Acquisition Act, 2013. “Of the proposed land, 80 per cent is patta land and 20 per cent is government poramboke lands,” the collector pointed out.

“The land acquisition will affect only one habitation of 27 families at Koodalnagar in Mathavankurichi village. Adequate compensation including alternate land and a house will be constructed for them as per the LARR Act,” he said.

Officials said that over 1,781 acres including 1650 acre patta land and 131 porambokke land will be acquired from Mathavankurichi village in Tiruchendur taluk, and 494 acres would be acquired from Padukapathu and Pallakurichi in Sathankulam taluk.

As many as 22 acres would be acquired for the construction of Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari road, as rocket launching pad would cut into the present road stretch.

ISRO scientists had earlier reiterated that Kulasekarapattinam was ideal for the rocket launching pad as it is closer to the equator and helps in straight launch towards southward. “The rockets cannot be launched straight towards south from the current Sriharikota launching pad as it has to fly around Sri Lanka,” the scientists had said.

Another advantage of Kulasekarapattinam according to scientists is, its proximity to ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district where the second and fourth stage engines for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) are assembled. It benefits on account of easy transportation of the machinery to Kulasekarapattinam rocket launching pad as the facility will be just 70 kilometres away.

Advocate B Ramkumar Adityan who had submitted representations to ISRO to establish the third rocket launching pad at Kulasekarapattinam said that the space port is much needed for the southern district as it could generate at least 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly besides, it is a pollution free industry.

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