Chennai story






Chennai airport expansion project: Villagers turn to Facebook to fight for their land rights
Jul 16, 2013

CHENNAI: Inspired by thousands of Facebook pages for human rights and civil liberties, the residents of five villages near Chennai have taken to the social networking site to fight for their land rights.

The Facebook page, which appeared online a fortnight ago, is a desperate effort from hundreds of families affected by the Chennai airport expansion project, says Brindha Brighton, secretary of the United People’s Forum for Survival which fights for the rights of the affected villagers.

The page – Request to TN CM for Denotification of Houses and Lands – gives an online voice to the people living in Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Gerugambakkam, Tharapakkam and Kovur, situated behind the Chennai international airport.

The residents of these villagers lost their lands in 2007 after the Tamil Nadu government notified about 1069.99 acres of land in the area to build a parallel runway.

The Airports Authority of India issued a letter in November 2011 to the state government informing that parallel runway plan was dropped and the earmarked land could be denotified. However, the denotification process is still pending with the state government.

Since the area continues to remain under the ‘notified’ status, residents are not able to resume construction of the incomplete layouts. It is estimated that at least 900 houses and 5,000 residents are affected.

“Many families are facing a lot of financial difficulties and paying loan for houses never constructed,” said Brindha.

“We cannot even sell, pledge or transfer the property due to the notified status of the land,” she said.

Several incomplete buildings in the area are now covered in bushes.

In May last, social activist Medha Patkar visited the area to assess the situation.

The Facebook page for “Request to TN CM for denotification of houses and lands.” is at



Brindha Brighton
Petition by
Brindha Brighton
Chennai, India

We the residents of Manapakkam, Gerugampakkam, Kolapakkam, Tharapakkam and Kovur, would like to bring the following to the attention of our Chief Minister. Vide GO No: 108 dated 19-10-2007, Government of Tamilnadu notified 1069.99 acres of land in the villages of Manapakkam,Kolapakkam, Gerugamapakkam, Tharapakkam and Kovur for the purpose of building a Parallel runway.The residents of the above villages were issued with notices under sec 3(2) of Tamil Nadu Land acquisition for Industrial Purposes Act 1997 in December 2007. Of the total 1069.99 acres, 136 acres was acquired and handed over to AAI in 2008. As suggested by ICAO, AAI dropped the parallel runway project for technical reasons and accordingly had informed TN govt. vide D.O.No.AAI/PLG/2011/2296 that it does not require the remaining land and that it can be denotified. Its been 7 years and we have no solution. Once the lands were notified in 2007, the CMDA froze all the construction and other activities in the said survey nos. The banks stopped the disbursements and insisted on repayments. Due to this the under construction houses were stopped abruptly and we had to pay loan EMI’s while residing in a rented house. Thus the financial implications has increased much beyond our capaci ty and planning. In the semi constructed house where trees have grown inside the built houses and damaged the entire building. The poor people living in Lakshmi Nager, Gerugampakkam are not able to pledge, sell their land for any emergency. At this juncture, Please join us in this campaign in requesting our Honourable Chief Minister Dr J Jayalalitha to consider our request and issue appropriate orders for de-notification. This will add meaning to our existence and life. Pls support us.

Dr J Jayalalitha, Hourable Chief Minister of Tamil NAdu
Tmt Sheela Balakrishnan IAS, Chief Secretary
[Your name]

see also
photo of article from May 2013 at https:

The Chennai airport has been beautified and the Indigo airlines took off from the new modernised terminal but there are many families whose agony and fear has not taken off….. It is not an exaggeration but many have lost their loved ones in this bargain… in many families love has taken a back seat and stress, burden misunderstanding are auto piloting the family. As middle class (the most suffering segmant) we are just putting up to the pressures of the society, where words cannot express. Thanks very much to all the empathetic hearts who are supporting us in this cause. Pls keep up the good work until we take off happily.

Chennai second runway project for airport – protestors use Facebook to make their pleas heard

DatedJuly 18, 2013

Chennai second runway project for airport – protestors use Facebook to make their pleas heard

Facebook has attained unprecedented popularity in this country. People have started believing that it is the only way they can reach out to millions from a single platform. It is also being considered as a primary means to have oneself heard by those in power.

These beliefs have made the citizens of Tamil Nadu follow the heels of those who create Facebook pages to protest against the Government running roughshod over human rights or any of the basic freedoms.

The TN citizens in this case are whining about the 1069.99 acres of land which was acquired for building a parallel runway for the Chennai airport. Out of this, 130 acres are allocated for the expansion but was eventually scrapped owing to the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

6 years have passed since that day but the acquired land has not been denotified. This has made it literally inaccessible to the rightful owners of the land. They continue to pay the debt they incurred while purchasing plots, but have no right to start with any form of construction on it.

The Facebook page which has been titled ‘Request to TN CM for Denotification of Houses and Lands’ hopes to strike a chord with those in authority after every effort in the direction seems to have failed.