The Sriperumbudur airport project has been shelved, top Central and State government officials in the know of the project have said.
With works apace on modernisation of the Chennai airport and taking into consideration the traffic growth, the State and Union governments have decided not to go ahead with the idea of construction of a new airport at Sriperumbudur.
Senior State government officials and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry confirmed the development, and asserted that with the completion of the expansion works at the Chennai airport, there would be no need for an additional airport.
“Many major cities in the world operate with one airport. Our traffic volume cannot justify a second airport,” a State government official said.
The officials opined that it would not be possible to keep two airports operational given the traffic projections. Also, the additional expenditure involved in investing in a mass rapid rail link between the two airports could not be justified.
On the issues of land acquisition for the expansion of the Chennai airport, a senior Civil Aviation official said there was only a disagreement over the price of a few acres. “The Cantonment Board is quoting a price and the State government is quoting much lower price. This can be sorted out.” The Ministry was working with both the Defence Ministry and the State government on the issue.
The State government had identified 4,820.66 acres in Tirumangalam, Mambakkam, Irungulam, Vadamangalam, Padicherry, Sirukilai, Kilai and Sriperumbudur in the Sriperumbudur taluk, and Tirupandiyur and Vayalur in the Tiruvallur taluk for the project.
The lands marked out for the greenfield airport are close to the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway.
According to the present procedure, if there is a need for a new airport, the State government has to acquire all the required land and give it to the Airports Authority of India (which is entrusted with the project).
Officials here made it clear land acquisition of populated areas was already a contested issue.
When it was pointed out that the freeze on registration of property in the area continued, the official said the Registration Department would investigate the issue.