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Chennai airport expansion hits air pocket

Medha Patkar opposes expansion of Chennai airport

October 10, 2006

The Tamil Nadu government’s dream of expanding the Chennai airport seems to have hit an air pocket. The opposition has come from none other than Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, who has asked the Karunanidhi government give up the plan.

Patkar has urged Tamil Ndu to choose another location as thousands would be affected if the project is implemented. Saying that thousands of locals will be displaced if the airport expansion project is implemented in its present form, Pakar said that the damage could drastically be reduced if only the government would agree to take up the expansion on another side of the already existing airport.

Medha Patkar was touring Chennai as part of a campaign yatra from Mumbai to Kolkata, to create awareness on right to livelihood and housing and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) organised by National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM).

According to her, the government's aim should be to minimise displacement or even avoid it wherever possible even while stressing on a pro-poor outlook when it comes to infrastructure development.

Patkar also lambasted the government’s policies on SEZs. Attacking the mushrooming of Special Economic zones throughout the country, she termed the exercise as land-grabbing.

Pointing out that the Tamil Nadu government has decided to take away 5,000 hectares of land for so many SEZs including Kancheepuram and Sriperumbudur, she said such projects are not going to generate any employment as promised.


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