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Extension of helipad flayed

A.V.Ragunathan
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The helipad being extended in Anna Statidum, Cuddalore.— Photo: T. Singaraveleou
The helipad being extended in Anna Statidum, Cuddalore.— Photo: T. Singaraveleou

The extension of the existing helipad inside Anna Stadium here for the campaign of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa scheduled for March 23 has drawn criticism from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Earlier, the size of the cement base of the helipad was about 29.80 square metres but now it has been increased to 45 square metres. Besides this, tar surfacing has been done widely around the cement base to contain dust that might arise while the chopper is landing.

“The refurbished helipad has now eaten away the football ground, the cricket pitch and the kho-kho ground,” said G. Nandakumar, District Sports and Youth Welfare Officer.

He told The Hindu that the helipad might have further encroached upon the running track had he not put his foot down on such a proposal. In fact, the helicopter company sought much bigger helipad,

On March 13, Commercial Tax Minister M.C.Sampath, who is also the district secretary of the AIADMK, sought the helipad on lease and on demand he paid an advance amount of Rs 5,000 on March 17. Former MLA Ela Pugazhendi (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) said that the original helipad was set up for receiving national and international leaders during natural disasters to which Cuddalore was highly vulnerable.

Even the helicopter carrying the then U.S. President Bill Clinton, who made a flying visit on November 31 in 2006 as the United Nations Special Envoy for tsunami recovery, landed safely in the old helipad.

He later proceeded by road to the Thazhanguda fishing village to inspect the tsunami relief and rehabilitation works carried out there.

Mr. Pugazhendi further said that as no tender was called for in this regard, he had proposed to seek the details by invoking the provisions of the Right to Information Act.

When the attention of Collector R.Kirlosh Kumar, who is also the Returning Officer, was drawn to the issue, he said that only the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu could answer the queries.

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