The Tamil Nadu Government has decided to acquire 439 acres of land for the expansion of Tiruchirappali Airport as against the original plan of 2,000 acres.

The Special Government Pleader made the submission before Madras High Court Justices Prabha Sridevan and B. Rajendran on Friday, during the hearing of a PIL against acquiring wet lands. The Judges asked the government to file details on the matter within two weeks.

The petitioners, a group of villagers, submitted that the proposed lands for the airport expansion were cultivable and their livelihood would be affected if their lands were acquired.

The Bench observed, the photographs of the lands indicated they were fertile lands. They were aware of the Government Order and Circular which contained strict guidelines on acquiring wet and dry lands.

A Government letter issued on March 11, 1984 dealing with the procedures to be followed in acquisition proceedings stated that agricultural lands where food crops were under cultivation should not be acquired.

The government also seemed to be aware of the issue involved and according to the Special Government Pleader at least three meetings had been held on the issue of acquiring lands for the airport expansion.

In view of the stated policy of the central and state governments, they should file a detailed counter.