Land acquisition woes delay Vellore airport project, again

State govt. yet to allot land for road; terminal’s civil work nearing completion

Vellore airport project has failed to meet the revised deadline even as officials blame delay in handing over land for road space.

Airports Authority of India is implementing the civil work as usual on Asanambut Road near Abdullapuram. There had been some progress in State government agencies handing over land to the AAI. Although the revised deadline for the project was June 2019, State government officials pleaded helplessness in handing over the land in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections.

Vellore Airport was sanctioned under the second phase regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of UDAN, but the Union Government was finalising work to be completed under UDAN 3. According to AAI officials, the terminal building on Asanambut Road was nearing completion and the work on completing civil works on the compound wall was going on. Residents from Asanambut Road say the construction work was progressing in fits and starts as the Highway Department delayed handing over land to Airports Authority of India to complete the perimeter road. Officials said the Asanambut Road, from the Chennai-Bengaluru National Highway, bifurcates the terminal and runways.

Runway work

However, Asanambut Road should be closed only after the work for the road on the airport’s perimeter was completed. The runway work that includes the expansion of 850 metres to accommodate 20-seat aircraft was over. The runway work could be completed only after the Asanambut Road is closed.

AAI sources said they had been pursuing the issue with the officials of the highways department.

It is under discussion and we have apprised the Transport Secretary in February this year of the status of runway-terminal connectivity and the necessity of handing over land to complete the project, said an official. An official from Revenue department said there was an inspection carried out last week to find out alternative land for road to connect villages from Abdullapuram. The report was submitted to the Revenue department, which was expected to decide on route to divert traffic to interior villages from Chennai-Bengaluru Highway. “All depends on how quick the government agencies respond to the proposal, as we have been waiting for this project to take effect,” says Kannan R., a businessman from Chennai.

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