Tuesday, November 16, 2021

TN considers diverting drain to protect Chennai airport

Chennai: The Airport Advisory Committee (AAC), chaired by Member of Parliament T R Baalu, on Monday discussed ways to ensure Chennai Airport doesn’t get flooded during heavy rains and suggested the diversion of Pammal drain near the airport boundary.

Baalu chaired the meeting which was convened at Chennai International Airport on Monday to review developmental aspects and other issues pertaining to passenger facilitation. The drain has been an attraction for birds and the huge volume of sewage entering the airport may damage  the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS).

Dr Sharad Kumar, who raised the issue during the AAC, told TNIE that a proposal to divert this drain, from outside the airport boundary through Cowl Bazaar area, has been prepared by the Public Works Department and is under consideration of the State government. “We have  requested Baalu to use his good offices with the State government to divert the drain as this will solve the problem of Cowl Bazaar as well as that of the airport,” he said.

Similarly, bird hits have been a serious safety hazard for the airport posing threat to aircraft  operations. The meeting also called for coordinated efforts from Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), Cantonment Board and the Chengalpattu district administration to review waste disposal methods so that the bird menace can be reduced.

The meeting also discussed the need for a greenfield airport as the new terminal in Chennai Airport is expected to saturate by 2030. The current phase-II modernisation, which is underway, will be able to cater to 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA), which is a seamless increase from the existing capacity of 17 MPPA. It was in 2007, when the DMK regime was in power, that the then Union government approved a 4,000-acre site for Chennai’s second airport  at Sriperumbudur.

The report ‘Comprehensive Integrated Master Plan for Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor’ prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has suggested that an additional airport in Chennai is necessary as passenger demand is expected to surpass capacity soon.

16/11/21 C Shivakumar/New Indian Express

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