Kannur airport deal in southern India: Land owners seek compensation
Yet another new airport is to be built in southern India. At Kannur, on the west coast south of Manglaore, an airport is planned. The state of Kerala boasts this will be the 4th international airport, and it is expected to be operational in 2015. The airport needs some 800 hectares of land, much of which has already been bought. However, the Times of India reported in June that there were problems that land owners who agreed to sell and had signed the agreements had still not received their compensation….”even after nine months, nothing has moved and there is no idea when the property would be registered and the money would be given,” said V R Bhaskaran, the convenor of the action committee formed by the land owners, who would lose their land for the proposed airport. If the compensation was given in time, it would have benefitted the people but now many of them are in a quandary as they are unable to plan their future. “…the government has not announced any rebate on the stamp duty for the land registration or tax rebate on the compensation amount, which has further panicked the people.” “When the people sacrifice their properties for a common good, the authorities should have the sensibility to understand it and make sure that their future is not affected.”
Kannur airport deal: Land owners seek compensation
KANNUR: Though it was agreed in September 2012 that 783 acres would be acquired for the third phase of land acquisition for Kannur airport, the land owners who signed the agreement are yet to get their compensation.
“It was with great difficulty that we convinced the people to give their land, even though the money offered by the government was much less than what they demanded. But even after nine months, nothing has moved and there is no idea when the property would be registered and the money would be given,” said V R Bhaskaran, the convenor of the action committee formed by the land owners, who would lose their land for the proposed airport.
If the compensation was given in time, it would have benefitted the people but now many of them are in a quandary as they are unable to plan their future.
While Kinfra had signed purchase deal with most of the land owners, some land was acquired as there was no proper land deed.
Though they have given a bank guarantee in the court for the acquired land, which would be disbursed after the land owners produced their land deeds, those who agreed to sell their property for the airport development have no idea when they will get the payment. Moreover, the government has not announced any rebate on the stamp duty for the land registration or tax rebate on the compensation amount, which has further panicked the people.
In the second phase, the process was fast but this time the government is going slow, they complained. Since the land acquired in the third phase is for allied works, Kinfra seems to be going slow in payment because they have no idea about the allied projects and hence will not get any returns till the land is given to the parties concerned for the allied projects, said an action committee member whose land has been acquired.
“There are people who gave advance for land in other places and also fixed the weddings of their children in the hope that they would get the compensation in time but all their plans have gone for a toss because of this uncertainty about the compensation,” said another action committee member who did not want to be named as he is a government servant.
“It was because of the faith in us that they agreed for the deal without much opposition but now we feel bad that we could not do anything for them, and even our people’s representatives have failed to rise up to the occasion in realizing the compensation,” he said.
Similarly, the rehabilitation package for the people whose land has been taken for the project is also not ready. Though some plots are ready, people are unable to use it because there is no connectivity to the place, as the proposed road has to be developed in the land taken over in third phase.
“If the government continues to go slow in releasing the compensation, we will be compelled to launch an agitation, because this is the question of our survival,” said Bhaskaran.
“When the people sacrifice their properties for a common good, the authorities should have the sensibility to understand it and make sure that their future is not affected.”
Action committee formed to oppose greenfield road
Oct 17 2013
A joint action committee was constituted today to oppose the construction of a greenfield road to the proposed Kannur airport.
Action committee patron M Muhammed Ali told newspersons here that they would not allow construction of greenfield road.
The action committee also demanded that government should constitute a parliamentary committee to study the necessity of Kannur Airport like the Aranmula Airport.
The parliamentary committee chaired by Seetharam Yechury noted that the proposed Aranmula airport was in violation of the principle of 150 kms distance rule and the saturation of the nearby existing air ports, so committee demanded to reconsideration by the government. Karipur airport in Malappuram and Bajpe airport in Mangalore are the nearest airports in Kannur.
Residents’ protest puts road survey on hold
Protestors blockade road by burning tyres on it
The ongoing survey for the proposed Greenfield Kannur-Mattannur road, billed as a major infrastructure to the proposed Kannur airport site, has been suspended after local residents protested against it at Chakkarakkal here.
The agitation, launched by an action committee of the residents at Chakkarakkal against the survey, had resumed on June 9. On Thursday, the survey work was disrupted though large number of police personnel was deployed in the area.
The protestors fiercely opposed the survey team and resorted to road blockade. Nearly 700 protestors, including large number of women, participated in the agitation. Despite provocation, the police restrained themselves to ensure that the situation did not lead to any showdown.
Road traffic on the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road was disrupted for hours after the agitating residents blockaded the road by burning tyres on it. The protestors also resisted the police efforts to arrest and remove them. The road blockade continued till 3.30 p.m.
The Chakkarakkal police said 16 protestors, including women, were arrested by the police. Special Tahsildar P. Govindan, who headed the 12-member survey team, later confirmed that the survey was suspended because of the agitation. He said the survey work, which resumed on June 9, could cover only 1,800 metres. A total stretch of nine kms had earlier been surveyed, he added. He also said the survey work was temporarily suspended following the intervention of the Anjarakkandy panchayat president K. Chandran. As District Collector Rathan Kelkar was on an official tour, the work would resume only after his return in two days, Mr. Govindan said.
Action committee leader M. Muhammadali alleged that the survey was being conducted without informing members of the local bodies and the action committee representatives. The district administration urged the protestors that the survey work should be allowed to resume. The Collector had also appealed to the local residents to cooperate with the ongoing survey work, citing the decision at the meeting convened by Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph here on June 30 to discuss the issue with people’s representatives and leaders of the action committee.
That meeting had assured the action committee that the government would also consider the development of the existing road from Kannur to Mattannur.
Infrastructure and engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract for Kannur airport, in November 2013.
In November “official sources” said Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony would formally launch the work by the end of the month. But, the ground-levelling and tree-cutting work would commence earlier.
The work on EPC II contract (engineering, procurement, construction) to ensure that the first flight takes off from the airport in December 2015 was said, in November 2013, to be “in full swing.” The request for qualification (RFQ) for the EPC II will be floated in January next and the aim was to award the work by April 2014, sources said.
The integrated terminal building, air traffic control tower, administrative and technical blocks, and facilities in the buildings such as aerobridges, escalators, elevators, and counters would be included in EPC II.
Environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for the project was received in July 2013 and the 800 hectares needed had been notified. The KIAL was in possession of 511.2 hectares of land and the remaining was to be handed over soon. [Another source earlier said: The airport is planned to cover an area of 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) acres about 25 km from Kannur. 1,600 acres (650 ha) has already been acquired.]
Official sources said all mandatory clearances including that from the local municipality and the panchayat had been received for the project.
The Cochin International Airport Limited submitted the detail project report in May 2012. The construction work commenced in November 2013. The Airport will have a runway length of 3,400 m (11,200 ft). The airport is expected to have an annual traffic of more than 1 million international passengers and above 0.3 million domestic passengers as per a 2009-2010 estimate.
The proposed equity structure of the company is as follows:
- 26% by the state government, in the form of land
- 23% for the state-owned public sector organisations
- 2% for government companies
- 49% by small investors and institutional investors
It Kannur airport opens by 2015, Kerala will be the only state in the country to have four international airports.
Southern states are likely to see enhanced airport infrastructure with Kannur, Sriperumbudur and Bellary set to get greenfield airports.
In a bid to boost the airport infrastructure in the country, the Airports Authority of India would set up 50 new low-cost small airports, two new international airports and eight greenfield airports in the country.The target was set during a meeting held by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday to finalise infrastructure objectives for the Financial Year 2013-14. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other ministers attended the meeting.
The two new international airports are expected to come up at Bhubaneswar and Imphal, while the eight greenfield airports will be awarded in PPP mode to Navi Mumbai, Juhu, Goa, Kannur, Pune (Rajguru Nagar Chakan), Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh.
Despite protests, MoEF clears fifth airport in Kerala
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has given clearance for a greenfield airport at Aranmula in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. This would be the state’s fifth airport.
Three international airports are already operational and another in Kannur is expected to begin operation in 2015. Several groups, led by the Hindu Co-ordination Committee, have been protesting against the Rs 2,000-crore airport project, promoted mainly by Chennai-based KGS Group. The new airport is coming up between the existing ones in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. The project has ran into several controversies over paddy field reclamation and encroachment of revenue land among other issues.
The BJP said the party would not allow the new airport, which would badly affect the heritage village of Aranmula. Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran also regretted the Union Government decision.