Jewar airport project: Farmers demand better land compensation, begin protest
Farmers from six villages where land is to be acquired in the second stage of the expansion of Jewar’s Noida International Airport project have started protesting against the administration.
The process to acquire land for the second phase of the airport project will begin in January next year, district administration officials aware of the development had said on Sunday, adding that the Uttar Pradesh government has already approved the social impact assessment report for the new phase on December 17.
The Gautam Budh Nagar administration is set to organise camps beginning from January 7 in villages to seek consent from farmers for the land acquisition.
Around 500 farmers organised a mahapanchayat at a community centre in Ranhera village to plan their agitation on Monday if their land rates are not increased in the second stage.
The state government has already handed over 1,334 hectares in Jewar to the Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) -- a 100% subsidiary of Zurich Airport International AG, which has been incorporated as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to develop Jewar airport -- last year.
“We are protesting against the methodology of deciding the land compensation and other rehabilitation benefits. We want four times the existing circle rates as land compensation as well as other benefits for housing land. The administration gave us two times the existing circle rate as compensation in stage one--that is not acceptable at all. If the administration will not offer us four times the circle rate, then we will not give our consent for the acquisition of the land,” said KP Singh, a farmer from Ranhera village.
Farmers said that they will register their protest at the camps on January 7 and also protest on other occasions in the future.
According to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the government offers four times the existing circle rate in rural areas and two times the circle rate in urban areas. These six villages, where the land is to be acquired, and where 1,334 hectares of land was already acquired under stage one, were classified as urban areas from rural by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2017.
“Our main protest is regarding why our villages were included in urban areas, when it is a rural belt. It was to decide low rates for our land and to harass the farmers. In stage one, farmers were fooled, but now we will not let it happen if they will not offer us four times the circle rate,” said Dinesh Kumar, a farmer from Nagla Hukum Singh village.
Land from six villages -- Karauli Bangar, Dayanatpur, Kureb, Ranhera, Mundhera and Nagla Hukum Singh villages -- will be used for setting up the second phase of the Jewar airport -- the third runway, and a commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft centre. MRO units ensure the service worthiness of an aircraft with facilities for inspection and maintenance. According to the agreement, the government has to provide 1,363 hectares to the subsidiary adjacent to the existing airport site for the third runway and further expansion.
“The farmers have a right to demand higher compensation for their land. But the administration will evaluate the compensation rate as per the provisions of the Land Act 2013. We will seek consent from them January 7 onwards as per the rules,” said Balram Singh, additional district magistrate (land acquisition), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Jewar airport on November 25. The greenfield project is billed to be the largest in India, and will be the National Capital Region’s third, after the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) and the civilian terminal at Ghaziabad’s Hindon airport.
Two runway pavements are being developed in the first phase, which is to be completed soon, said the officials. The project, which will be fully implemented in four separate phases, is scheduled to be done by September 29, 2024.