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Dalit resistance to the expansion of Mangalore Airport

Vimana Nildhana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (Citizens Alliance Against Airport Expansion), a committee of project affected communities largely constituting Dalit families, have been resisting the expansion of Bajpe airport near Mangalore for more than a decade now. ESG has facilitated the Samithi in organising their resistance in a variety of ways, including advocating through the media, organising public protests, initiating Public Interest Litigations and representing their cause before a variety of regulatory agencies including the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Director General of Civil Aviation.

Fundamentally the issues raised involve the expansion of the existing Mangalore airport by building a 2nd Runway and Terminal tower that will enable the flights movements of wide bodied aircrafts of the Airbus 320 class. This proposal which was initially made during the late eighties by the Mangalore Chamber of Commerce, was taken up actively by the Airport Authority of India, and land acquisition was initiated soon after. The location chosen was technically inappropriate as per international standards laid down in ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), putting the life of the passengers at risk. However, the project authorities have paid no consideration to these concerns and are continuing with the project, paying scant regard to the procedural and environmental norms.

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