The three Members of Parliament, who have been opposing the setting up of the city’s second airport in Navi Mumbai, seem to have done it more with the intention of lobbying for their district than out of environmental concerns.
Two weeks after they met Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh with a proposal to shift the airport to Nevali in Thane, MPs Anand Paranjpe, Suresh Taware and Baliram Jadhav, said that their main aim was to bring the airport to Thane district.
When they had met Ramesh on August 12, the MPs had said they were opposed to the airport coming up in Panvel due to the damage it poses to the environment.
“If the Environment department does not give the Navi Mumbai site clearance, then our request is to check the feasibility of shifting the site to Nevali,” Jadhav, a Bahujan Vikas Aghadi-Congress MP from Palghar, said at a press conference the trio held at Kalyan on Monday.
“And if that also does not happen, the Centre should check Juchandra, Wada or Palghar for sites for the new airport. Our main aim is to bring the airport to Thane district.”
Sena’s Paranjpe, who represents the Kalyan constituency in Parliament, said, they had only requested the Centre and Ramesh to check the feasibility of having an airport in Nevali, because the land belonged to the aviation department.
Last week, villagers from Nevali had refused to part with their land for the airport. Paranjpe, however, claimed the villagers were not entirely opposed to it.
“I have met the villagers [of Nevali] and they are ready [to part with land], if they get good compensation and jobs for at least one family member.”
Paranjpe said the villagers can cultivate the land but are not authorised to sell it or construct houses on it.
He said the new generation was not interested in farming and finding farm labour was getting difficult.
“So if the farmers are getting market rates for their land and the new airport boosts the area’s development, what’s wrong?”
Taware, a Congress MP from Bhiwandi, said, they would ensure farmers displaced from Nevali are rehabilitated. “But our prime demand is that the airport should be in Thane district,” he said.
Paranjpe said the three will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week and place all the facts about the airport project and alternative sites in Thane.