With the district administration having won the legal battle on the ownership of hundreds of acres of land in Indore from the Holkar royal family trust, the prospect utilizing 25 acres of the land for airport expansion now looks promising.
The Indore airport has been in need of extra land for the extension of the runway and for the construction of a larger parking area, but prolonged dispute over the ownership of the land at Bijasan, adjacent to the airport, was a major hurdle in its path.
However, on Wednesday, the Indore district administration finally won the 51-year land ownership battle against the Usha Raje Trust, possibly clearing the path for expansion of the airport. “Once we receive the land, a portion of the land needed for airport expansion will be handed over to the Airports Authority of India (AAI),” an administrative official said.
However, if the trust decides to appeal the decision, the airport expansion plan will once again be put in cold storage. “Things will become clearer in the coming days when the administration receives the court order. There is also a possibility of the trust filing an appeal against the verdict,” an official said.
The battle for ownership of the property, involving over 900 acres of prime land, began in 1964 when the then collector of Indore objected to the possession of the property by the daughter of Maharaja Yashwant Rao Holkar, Usha Raje, the main person behind her namesake trust.
In August 2001, Usha Raje appealed to the high court after losing the case in the district courtand received a favourable verdict in August 2010. The district administration, however, appealed against the order.
In February 2011, a double bench of the high court rejected the review petition on the grounds that the document relied on by the state were not produced before the trial court or the high court bench where the case was put up.
The state then appealed in the Supreme Court. The judgment was announced in favour of the state on Wednesday.