STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Thoothukudi airport had no consent to operate for decades, activists seek action

While the Thoothukudi Airport at Vagaikulam, spread over 789.5 acres, has been operational since 1992, it obtained the consent to operate only on January 11, 2021.

Published: 09th July 2021 08:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2021 08:06 PM   |  A+A-

The 2,000-year-old Korkai tree at ancient port city of Korkai in Thoothukudi district | express

By Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: Environment activists have lodged a complaint against the District Environment Engineer for not taking legal action against the Thoothukudi airport authorities, who failed to obtain the mandatory Consent to Operate (CTO) from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) for the past 29 years, as per the Water and Air Acts.

While the Thoothukudi Airport at Vagaikulam, spread over 789.5 acres, has been operational since 1992, it obtained the CTO only on January 11, 2021 after paying TNPCB a consent fee of Rs 16.74 lakh.

The main complaint of activist SP Muthuraman is that the District Environment Engineer had illegally issued CTO to the airport, without initiating any legal action for having operated the domestic airport without the key approvals for nearly three decades.

Several attempts to contact TNPCB District Environment Engineer Sathiaraj proved futile. A senior airport official, on condition of anonymity, told The New Indian Express that the airport had obtained the CTO from the TNPCB as per the procedure remitting all the fees required for all the years in lapse. However, he refused to comment further.

ALSO READ | Once Kamal Haasan's close aide, R Mahendran's transition from ‘torch’ bearer to fan of ‘rising sun’

It is Muthuraman's contention that the airport authorities got the CTO now, as the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change had sought a valid CTO of the existing airport in the Terms of Reference related to the airport's expansion on August 13, 2020. The CTO was obtained for its pre-expansion area of 188 acre, he said, adding that the ministry had issued Environment Clearance for the expansion project while overlooking the decades-long violation by a government agency.

As the TNPCB had classified the Thoothukudi airport as an orange (large) category project, the activist pointed out that Section 21 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, necessitates CTO for any industrial plant while Section 37 punishes with one and half years imprisonment or a fine, or both for non-compliance. According to the Section 47 of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the authority concerned should file a case before the jurisdictional court to initiate legal action against the violator, and Section 48 lists out the officials of the government department to be inducted in the case, the activist pointed out.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp