The Madras High Court today restrained the Airports Authority of India (AAI) from proceeding with any construction work on more than 100 acres of land acquired on lease from private owners for development of the airport in Coimbatore. Vacation bench judge M M Sundresh gave the interim order on a batch of 12 petitions by land owners who claimed that the AAI had not paid them the lease amount as per the land guideline value.
The judge also ordered ‘status quo’ in respect of the lands and issued notice to the AAI director and the Coimbatore collector seeking their replies within eight weeks. The petitioners sought to restrain the AAI from taking up construction of a compound wall or any other work till their dues were settled and also to determine the compensation for their land from the date of acquisition proceedings. Land measuring over 100 acres was taken on lease by the AAI from different owners in the villages of Singanallur, Kalapatti, Uppilipalayam and Irugur located near the airport.
P Bagyalakshmi, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that as per the agreement the AAI had to pay the lease amount as per the guideline value and despite repeated requests and representations the authority had not paid the dues. She alleged the petitioners were made to run from pillar to post including making representations to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The AAI meanwhile had also begun constructing a compound wall in some extent of the land. The petitioners sought a direction to fix the compensation at a rate of Rs 8 lakh per one cent of land (about 440 sq ft) and sought to quash the Gazette notification published on 4 April, 2011 of Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act 1997.