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2nd Chennai airport in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India

Moves to acquire farmland in 20 villages for a proposed 2nd Chennai airport in Sriperumbudur met with opposition from affected people. On 12th August 2010 police charged on 3,000 protesters, 20 people needed hospital treatment for their injuries.


In February 2010 the Times of India reported that a senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry said the government was convinced there was no urgent need for a second Chennai airport, as the existing airport at Meenambakkam was being expanded. Sources in the Tamil Nadu State Government pointed out that many of the world’s major cities were operating with one airport and the current level of air traffic did not justify a second airport. The sources added that the State government would have to acquire 5,000 acres (2,023.4 hectares) of land and hand it over to the AirportAuthority of India (AAI) free of cost, saying this “may entail expenditure between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000 crore which the state government may not be ready to shell out” [1]. Yet moves to acquire land for a new airport continued, strongly opposed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra (AIADMK) political party, Jayaram Jayalalithaa. She said the government proposed to take over farmland in more than 20 villages in the Sriperumbudur and Kadampathur revenue blocks. The livelihoods of hundreds of villagers would be at risk and they would also lose their homes. She said takeover of the land would also result in demolition of places of worship and affect children’s school attendance.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:2nd Chennai airport in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India
State or province:Tamil Nadu
Location of conflict:Kanchipuram District and Thiruvallar District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In April 1998 Union Civil Aviation Minster Ananth Kumar said a proposal to build a new Chennai airport was under consideration. Central government cleared the proposal in November 1999. In May 2007 Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Muthuvel Karunanidhi said 4,820 acres in Sriperumbudur would be acquired for the greenfield airport and that it would have four runways.[13] In February 2010 the Times of India reported that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had undertaken a techno-economic feasibility study. A senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said the government was convinced there was no need for a second airport in the city as the existing Chennai airport was being expanded, increasing capacity from 350 to 450 aircraft movements per day.[1] In August 2010 Karunanidhi pointed out that the decision to go ahead with the project had been taken at an all-party meeting on 22nd May 2007 and that the previous month the government had asked to AAI to acquire the minimum land for the project. He said soil tests had been conducted along with tests to check technical and economic feasibility of the project.[6]

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Project area:2,800.8 hectares
Level of Investment for the conflictive project37,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:37,000
Start of the conflict:10/2009
End of the conflict:10/2017
Relevant government actors:Sirappu Porulathara Mandala Edhirpu Iyakkam (Movement Against SEZs in Tamil Nadu) -
International and Finance InstitutionsJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from Japan - 2015 report on Master Plan for Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor stated that a proposed airport in Sriperumbudur would need to be operational by 2020-21 and that efforts to create this airport needs to begin immediately[18]]
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sirappu Porulathara Mandala Edhirpu Iyakkam (Movement Against SEZs in Tamil Nadu) -
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Tiruvallur District Collector, TP Rajesh, ordered an RDO (Revenue Divisional Office) inquiry into the 12th August 2010 police lathi-charge on farmers agitating against the airport project. Outcome not known
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Approximately 20 people were injured in the 12th August 2010 police lathi-charge attack on people protesting land acquisition for the proposed airport and they needed hospital treatment. The panchayat chief of Vadamangalam, one of the affected villages, said that authorities had not informed residents about the land acquisition even though surveyors had been visiting for months and marking the land. In October 2017 it was reported that alternative sites were being considered due to high costs of land acquisition. Selection of an alternative site for a second Chennai airport in August 2022, in Parandur, immediately met with major protests from farmers and residents of 13 villages opposing acquisition of a large site consisting mainly of agricultural land with many water bodies.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[17] Runway design and structural design of an airfield pavement, Sundeep Chowdary Daggubati, Nazneen, Subham Sharma, Sulabh raj Gurung, OISR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (IOSR-JMCE), Volume 11, Issue 2 Ver. III (Mar- Apr. 2014)
[click to view]

[1] Sriperumbudur airport may not take off, Times of India, 27/02/2010
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[2] Farmers agitates taking over their lands for construction of New Airport: Jayalalithaa condemns the police lathi charge, Asian Tribune, 14/08/2010
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[3] Jaya warns of big protest on airport project, Express News Service, 14/08/2010
[click to view]

[4] Villagers oppose land acquisition for green field airport, Sirappu Porulathara Mandala Edhirpu Iyakkam (Movement Against SEZs in Tamil Nadu), 17/10/2010
[click to view]

[5] Greenfield airport Jaya, PMK on same page, The New Indian Express,16/05/2012
[click to view]

[6] MK defends Greenfield Airport, The New Indian Express, 16/05/2012
[click to view]

[7] From greenfield to grey runway, Times of India, 29/08/2010
[click to view]

[8] Call to ground airport plan, Down to Earth, 15/09/2010
[click to view]

[9] AAI wary of opposition at Sriperumbudur, The New Indian Express, 29/06/2013
[click to view]

[10] Sriperumbudur Greenfield airport stuck in land issues: Jayant Sinha, The New Indian Express, 20/22/2016
[click to view]

[11] New Chennai Sriperumbudur Airport, Centre for Aviation (CAPA)
[click to view]

[12] Second airport to get delayed further, Times of India, 28/12/2017
[click to view]

[13] Parandur chosen as site of Chennai’s second airport, The Hindu, 02/08/2022
[click to view]

[14] TN: ‘New Airport Would Make us Refugees in Our Own Land’ Say, Villagers, NewsClick, 02/09/2022
[click to view]

[15] Give 5,000 acres for new airport, says AAI, Times of India, 08/08/2011
[click to view]

[16] TN includes second greenfield airport in vision 2023 document, Param Projects, 27/03/2012
[click to view]

[18] Comprehensive Integrated Master Plan for Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor Final Report Regional Comprehensive Plan, Executive Summary, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), 10/2015, p.48
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded mapping, email: [email protected]
Last update13/09/2022
Conflict ID:6139
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