Villagers: We fear getting shortchanged | india | Hindustan Times
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Villagers: We fear getting shortchanged

The Navi Mumbai airport will change not just your flying experience. It will alter forever the lives of 3,000 families that reside in villages on or around the airport site. ZEESHAN SHAIKH reports.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2010 01:29 IST

The Navi Mumbai airport will change not just your flying experience. It will alter forever the lives of 3,000 families that reside in villages on or around the airport site.

The airport will be spread over 2,020 hectares, but City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has only 1,596 hectares in its possession. It needs to shift the 3,000 families that reside in 10 hamlets before construction can begin.

Many of these families welcome the project, pointing out that development in the region is needed. But, they allege, CIDCO has not been transparent about their rehabilitation.

“There is no clarity on how we will be rehabilitated despite the fact that work will begin soon. CIDCO is uprooting us from our ancestral property, so it should be sensitive to our plight,” said Suresh Rago Patil, sarpanch (headman) of Waghivli village, which will be completely acquired for the airport.

CIDCO claimed it has identified land for resettling the villagers. The land is at Vadghar, Dapoli and Vahad. CIDCO assured that it won’t give villagers a raw deal.

“The package we have drawn up is better than what state and Central governments normally give. We have refined even our own proposal.

“It was put up before our board of directors, which asked us to discuss it with the villagers,” said CIDCO Joint Managing Director Tanaji Satre said. Villagers were assured of land, financial assistance, vocational training for jobs and quotas for skilled and unskilled jobs at the airport.

On paper, the process seems well charted, but for those who stand to lose their livelihoods and generations-old houses, it’s gut wrenching.

Waghivli residents said the last time CIDCO officials visited them was a year ago. CIDCO’s earlier plans to reach out to villagers failed too.

CIDCO had started a vocational school at Uran to train residents for jobs at the airport. However the training centre now lies shut.

“CIDCO opened the centre 20-km away from where the villagers stay. The centre shut because villagers were not interested in travelling that distance,” said Mahendra Patil, sarpanch of Pargaon, another village likely to be affected by the project.