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Parandur airport: TIDCO says it can’t share pre-feasibility study

The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited, which is the project proponent has also refused to share the “site clearance” applications received by the department.

Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO), which is the proponent for the proposed Parandur airport, has denied a request by a Right To Information activist to share the pre-feasibility report of the project citing a clause in the RTI Act. The protest by residents against the project has now completed more than three months but the Tamil Nadu government has said that it would go ahead with the greenfield project.

“The information sought is exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act,” TIDCO said in response to an RTI application filed by a Chennai-based RTI activist. In the reply, dated November 15, 2022, the corporation also said they cannot share the “site clearance” applications received by the department. The application was filed on September 19, this year. The section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act says that an authority has no obligation to provide information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state or its relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) had earlier transferred the RTI application to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGOCA). They later transferred the application to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and TIDCO. People from Parandur and 12 neighbouring villages have been holding protests every evening against the proposed airport ever since it was announced. The state government has offered up to three times the market value of the land for those affected by the project but the people have not relented.

Read: ‘No one told us we will lose our land’: Parandur residents protest Chennai airport plan

Parandur residents started their protest against the airport in August this year. They have come together to pass three resolutions against the proposed airport. The first two resolutions were passed on August 15, on the occasion of Independence day, and on Gandhi Jayanti, on October 2. The latest was on November 1.

Despite the resistance put in by the residents of Parandur, Tamil Nadu Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu, earlier this month, spoke on the need for a second airport in Chennai and called it the best example of a socio-economic project that will uplift the lives of people from Parandur and its neighbourhood.

At the conference, Thennarasu explained how Parandur was identified for the airport project. “We identified 11 sites and finalised four among them. As we have faced several constraints near Meenambakkam airport, we also considered issues pertaining to sites outside Chennai. Southwards of Chennai, there is the Kalpakkam atomic energy plant, Tambaram airbase and the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. There is the Pulicat lake in the north. We cannot disturb these ecosystems. There are many security constraints too. So we picked Parandur as it poses fewer challenges,” he said.

Political outfits and environmental organisations have conducted field visits and released their assessments and demanded that the government rethink the greenfield airport. Poovulagin Nanbargal, a Tamil Nadu-based environment protection organisation, has warned the Tamil Nadu government of an ecological disaster if it goes ahead with the project in Parandur. It alleged that Parandur residents were being denied their democratic rights. A seven-page report released by Poovulagin Nanbargal stated that the construction of an airport will lead to flooding and loss of natural habitats as the proposed site is made up of wetlands.

Source: The News Minute