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Vagaikulam airport eyes international status

J. Praveen Paul Joseph
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90 per cent of land acquisition work for expansion over

WAITING TO SOAR HIGH:The Tuticorin airport terminal.— Photo: N. Rajesh
WAITING TO SOAR HIGH:The Tuticorin airport terminal.— Photo: N. Rajesh

With almost ninety percent of land acquisition, work is moving at a fast pace to upgrade the existing airport at Vagaikulam.

Industrialists in the district are taking all out efforts to invite officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to find ways and means to upgrade the airport.

With extensive maritime trade, emerging business activities and industrial operations under the logistic support of V.O.C. Port in Tuticorin, the airport should be expanded with infrastructural facilities and modern amenities to get international status, T. Johnson, president of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Managing Director, St. John Freight Systems Limited, Tuticorin told The Hindu .

The runway must be lengthened to facilitate handling of international flight services to Sri Lanka, Far East and Middle East countries and domestic services to Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad and Mumbai, J. P. Joe Villavarayar, former Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry and Managing Director of Villavarayar and Sons, Tuticorin, said.

When contacted, Collector Ashish Kumar said almost ninety percent of land acquisition for the expansion was over and he hoped that the process would be completed soon. Administrative sanction was accorded for acquiring 581.36 acres of patta lands and transfer of 4.64 acres of poromboke land in Kumaragiri, Kattalangulam, Mudivaithanendal and Servaikkaranmadam villages in Tuticorin taluk.

For administrative purpose, the entire acquisition area has been divided into 13 blocks and proposals for 11 blocks covering an extent of 507.68 acres was sent to the Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Land Administration, Chennai for publication in the government gazette. For the remaining two blocks, proposals were under process for sending a report to the Commissioner of Land Administration Chennai, at the earliest.

He also added the six land owners had filed writ petitions before the High Court Madurai Bench and got an interim stay for dispossession of their land. But counter affidavit was filed by the District Administration in all the six cases and also by the requisition body- Airport Authority of India. The above cases were under trial. As for transfer of government poromboke lands, proposals were under process, he added.

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