Among the land proposed to be acquired are 164.48 acres of Defence land

With the land acquisition process for the expansion of Tiruchi Airport being stuck with the Defence establishment’s refusal to part with its lands for the purpose, Tiruchi Member of Parliament P.Kumar on Tuesday met Defence Minister A.K.Antony seeking his intervention in the matter.

Mr.Kumar called on the Minister to present a petition seeking the Defence land for both the expansion of airport and laying a link road between Crawford and the K.K.Nagar Main Road in the city.

In a representation submitted to the Minister, Mr.Kumar pointed out that people of several districts in the Central and Southern region of Tamil Nadu had to depend on the Tiruchi Airport for domestic and international travel. More than 11 lakh people have travelled through the airport in 2011 and the Union government has recently accorded international status to the airport.

While plans have been drawn up for the expansion of the airport, including its runway, about 510 acres of land was required for the purpose. Among the land proposed to be acquired were 164.48 acres of Defence land. The district administration has already taken steps to get the required lands from a couple of other agencies such as the Public Works Department and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

The administration has also approached the Secretary, Public (Military) Department, for acquiring the Defence land. He had also recommended the same to the Defence Estate Officer, Chennai, for grant of concurrence.

However, the Station Officer, Tiruchi, has refused the proposal citing future requirements for construction of permanent buildings. The Collector has apprised the Defence Estate Officer, Chennai, impressing upon him the importance of the airport expansion project. However, no positive response has been received so far; he said and called for Defence Minister’s intervention in getting the Defence Department’s consent for the acquisition.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone, Mr.Kumar said the Defence Minister had agreed to consider the request positively.

In a separate representation, Mr.Kumar also requested the Defence Minister to direct the authorities concerned to transfer about 3,000 square feet of Defence land for laying a link road between Crawford and K.K.Nagar Main Road in the city.