MP urges Defence Minister to expedite land transfer for airport expansion

Su.Thirunavukkarasar raises the issue in Lok Sabha

With land acquisition process for the proposed expansion of Tiruchi airport yet to be completed, Tiruchi MP Su.Thirunavukkarasar on Thursday raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, urging the Defence Minister to take steps for the expeditious transfer of the Defence land sought for the project.

After the first phase of extension of the runway from 6,000 to about 8,000 feet, carried out over a decade ago, the AAI drew up plans to expand it further up to 12,500 feet to facilitate operation of bigger and wide-bodied aircraft.

A statement issued on behalf of the MP here on Thursday said that Mr.Thirunavukkarasar had raised the issued under Rule 377 in the Lok Sabha.

The Tiruchi International Airport, Mr. Thirunavukkarasar said, has ‘exhausted its capacity’ due to increasing domestic and international traffic. A proposal was mooted by the AAI in 2010-11 to extend the airport runway and augment its cargo and passenger handling capacity. It was planned to increase the passenger handling capacity to 3.52 million a year and the foundation stone for the new terminal (which is currently under construction) was laid in February 2019.

The AAI had submitted a request to the State government, seeking 510.30 acres, which included about 164.68 acres of defence land, Mr. Thirunavukkarasu said.

The State government had in 2018 accorded administrative sanction to acquire about 345.62 acres, including wetlands, located mostly at the rear of the airport, mainly for extension of the runway and the acquisition process is under way. However, the process of transfer of the Defence land has been ‘unduly delayed’ due to various reasons, he said, calling for the Defence Minister’s intervention.

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