Give up present plan of expanding airport, says Patkar

The Hindu, October 9, 2006
Chennai, Oct. 9 (PTI): Asking the Tamil Nadu government to “give up” the present plan of expanding the city airport or “choose another location”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar today said “thousands would be affected if the project is implemented” without change.
“Thousands of locals will be displaced if the expansion project is implemented in its present form. However, the damage could drastically be reduced if only the government would agree to take up the expansion on another side of the already existing airport,” she said, while addressing reporters here today.
Patkar was here as part of a “campaign yatra” from Mumbai to Kolkata, to create awareness on right to livelihood and housing and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) organised by National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM).
During the airport expansion, the government’s aim should be to minimise displacement or even avoid it wherever possible even while stressing on a “pro-poor” outlook when taking up infrastructure development, she said.
Coming down heavily on the mushrooming of Special Economic zones (SEZs) throughout the country and terming them “land-grabbing”, Patkar said that every city was “eating on the land of the poor” with these projects.
“The Tamil Nadu government has decided to take away 5,000 hectares of land for so many SEZs including Kanchipuram and Sriperumbudur. This is not going to generate any employment as promised,” she said.
Of this land, only 35 per cent is usually used for setting up productive industries, she charged.

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