Villagers march towards Kancheepuram collectorate to protest proposed airport

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Residents of Eknapuram and 12 other surrounding villages in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram district Monday marched towards the collector’s office to submit their petition urging the government not to go ahead with the proposed plan to build an airport in Parandur.

Residents of the Eknapuram village had announced Sunday they will march towards the collector’s office in Kancheepuram. For over 140 days, they have been up in arms against the government for choosing Eknapuram and 12 other villages to build a greenfield airport for Chennai.

The residents of Eknapuram had been carrying out protests every day against the proposed airport in their village. Here is a banner from the protest (Express)

On Monday, the protesters carried black flags, covered their mouths with black cloth, and shouted slogans urging the government not to take away their agricultural land for building an airport and continued their march towards the collector’s office.

Ever since the announcement on Sunday, security had been tightened around the villages. Police personnel from several districts like Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Ranipet, Villupuram, and Tiruvallur were deployed in large numbers to avoid any untoward incidents. Barricades were also set up in several places.

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About 1.5 kilometre from their village, the residents were stopped and officials from the Kancheepuram collector’s office and others including the district revenue officer, Kancheepuram superintendent of police, and the tahsildar spoke to their representatives urging them to stop proceeding towards the collector’s office.

Addressing the media, the representatives said following the assurance from the collector’s office that they will facilitate a meeting with state ministers Tuesday at the secretariat, they are withdrawing the march temporarily. However, they added their peaceful protest in the evenings will continue.

The residents of Eknapuram had been carrying out protests every day against the proposed airport in their village. The protest on Sunday reached its 145th day.

The proposed airport at Parandur is aimed to be set up at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore by the Tamil Nadu government. (Express)

The proposed airport at Parandur is aimed to be set up at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore by the Tamil Nadu government. Ministers during earlier press briefings had informed 4,563.56 acres of land would be acquired for building the mega airport and as many as 1,005 households would be affected.

The state had offered 3.5 times the market value for lands in all 13 villages. However, the residents have been firm and said no matter what amount or any other alternative land the government provides, they do not wish to lose their ancestral land and houses.



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