Navi Mumbai airport: Project-affected locals to intensify stir
The locals of five villages affected by the Navi Mumbai airport project have decided to intensify their protest against the City and Industrial Development Corporation’s (Cidco) nodal office at Belapur after the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi over their pending demands. The villagers are also planning to call leaders of political parties to press their demands before Cidco, but have not finalised the names yet.
The decision was taken on Sunday at Ganeshpuri, where more than 1,500 villagers from Waghivli, Targhar, Ulwe, Kombadbhuje and Ganeshpuri held a meeting.
These villagers had surrendered their land for the construction of the proposed airport. They said that Cidco is yet to fulfil its demands, such as prioritising them in employment schemes, compensation for losses in their traditional fishing profession, a well-developed plot in lieu of their old homes, community centres and schools.
Ulwe resident Pundalik Mahatre heads the co-ordinating committee of the project-affected villagers. He said, “We need at least 80% preference in jobs related to the construction of the airport. Our traditional profession of fishing has been destroyed because of the project; hence, we want Cidco to provide us with fishing jetties,” he said.
The villagers are also forming a database which will contain the details about the facilities and compensation they have received from Cidco, depending on which they will decide on their further demands.
Another resident from Ulwe village, Avinash Patil, 38, said, “We have lost our land and once the outer boundary of the airport area is formed, Cidco will not pay heed to our demands. Hence, now is the time to ask them for our pending demands. The developing body also plans to demolish the temples in our villages. We will not allow them to do so unless Cidco allots us plots for temples at the locations where we will be rehabilitated.”
Cidco’s public relations officer Priya Ratambe said that the developing body has fulfilled all the demands made by the villagers. “We have already delivered all that which we had promised to give the project-affected people.”
More than 3,000 PAPs live in the 10 villages that fall in the core Navi Mumbai airport project zone, which will house the airport building, hangars, airstrip, among other facilities. Of these, about 133 families continue to reside at Ulwe, 225 in Kombadbhuje, two at Targhar and four families in Ganeshpuri. All the residents from Waghivli have been rehabilitated at Karanjade and Uran.