11 years on, less than one-tenth of land handed over for Tiruchy airport expansion

Land acquisition, however, seems to be moving at a snail's pace with only about 40.93 acres of the 512.52 acres deemed necessary for expansion having been transferred to AAI so far.

Published: 07th November 2022 01:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2022 01:57 AM   |  A+A-

The Tiruchy international airport | MK Ashok Kumar

Express News Service

TIRUCHY:  Almost 11 years have passed by since the Airports Authority of India (AAI) mooted for expansion of the international airport here, particularly the runway, and initiated steps for the same. With the new passenger terminal’s completion by June next year expected to increase the footfall at the airport further, the need for expansion has again received a push.

Land acquisition, however, seems to be moving at a snail's pace with only about 40.93 acres of the 512.52 acres deemed necessary for expansion having been transferred to AAI so far. Officials admit that the process would take years for completion.

According to reliable sources, of the 512.52 acres of land needed for airport expansion, the State government is responsible for handing over about 312 acres to AAI. The 312 acres include wetlands and private lands. Of this the State government has handed over 40.93 acres to AAI and talks are on for handing over the remaining land, said sources.

Neither AAI officials nor the district administration, however, confirmed when it would be completed. As for the remaining 200 acres of the 512.52 acres, the defence forces own it. This comes when the average daily passenger footfall of 5,000 is expected to jump after June 2023 when the new terminal is expected to be completed.

While AAI officials as early as 2011 pointed to the need for the busy airport requiring a 12,500-foot-long runway, it continues to operate with a 8,136-foot-long runway. Runway expansion would mean an additional 200 acres, an official pointed out. On handing over land for the airport’s expansion, a senior district administrative officer said,

"We cannot say when we would be able to hand over the remaining 271.59 acres. Several residents have filed cases in this matter and they are pending before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. Though the State government held several meetings with the residents (whose land is of interest), we were not able to arrive at a consensus on the land rate.

We would, however, continue our efforts but cannot say when land acquisition would be completed.” Meanwhile, Tiruchy MP Su Thirunavukkarasar, who is also chairman of Tiruchy International Airport Advisory Committee, said that he is expecting the Union government's land to be handed over within a year. "Roughly 200 acres of defence land is required for Tiruchy airport’s expansion. I have already raised the matter with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and we were able to reach a consensus over handing over of about 120 acres.

We have initiated measures to provide alternative land for the defence forces. If everything goes well, we expect about 120 acres of defence land to be handed over within a year," the MP said. Sources, however, pointed out that the handing over of remaining land for the airport’s expansion would take years.



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