Purandar airport faces hurdle of land acquisition as villagers plan to escalate protest
After a prolonged wait for the NOC, which was analysed heavily by the ministry of civil aviation, National Defence Academy and the ministry of defence, the project is now facing strong opposition from the villagers of Purandar taluka whose land will be acquired for the project.pune Updated: Jan 29, 2018 15:31 IST
Even after receiving the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the ministry of defence on January 23, the proposed Sambhajiraje International Airport at Purandar has not found a way to ease its turbulent journey yet. The villagers of Purandar taluka, who are opposing the project, have now planned to stall the process of land acquisition, which was to start in about a week.
After a prolonged wait for the NOC, which was analysed heavily by the ministry of civil aviation, National Defence Academy and the ministry of defence, the project is now facing strong opposition from the villagers of Purandar taluka whose land will be acquired for the project.
The villagers met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday and demanded the cancellation of the project. However, according to local residents, Pawar asked villagers to support the project if the government is acquiring non-irrigated land.
“Pawar told us to support the Purandar Airport project if the government is acquiring non-irrigated land,” said Bappu Memane, sarpanch of Pargav Mevani village.
Pawar also added that the villagers should demand the government to acquire only non-irrigated land and let the farmers keep their irrigated land.
However, opposing the government’s as well as the NCP chief’s opinion, Datta Dhurange, president of Vimantal Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, launched a scathing attack on the state government and said that, “The Maharashtra government is betraying its people. All the concern that the state government is exhibiting towards the farmers in the Purandar Taluka is fake. If it were to be true, the government would not have given them a compensation that is less than half the value of the land being acquired.”
He also alleged that the land being acquired by the government is irrigated, which by law, should not be allowed.
“Ergo, the moment we receive the letter of land acquisition, we will move to court. We are confident that our stand will be considered by the judiciary. Moreover, what chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has proposed is a sum of ₹20 lakh per hectare while the market value per hectare amounts to almost ₹1 crore in the area. This means that the amount offered by Fadnavis is only negligible when compared to the actual market price,” added Dhurange.
Vijay Shivtare, minister of state for water resources and water conservation, who also represents the Purandar assembly constituency, had said that the total land required for building the international airport is 2,400 hectares. “The government possesses about 1,300 hectares of land and the remaining land will be acquired from farmers,” he had said.
However, claiming the information given by Shivtare to be false, Datta Dhurange said, “Whatever information Vijay Shivtare is giving is absolutely false and baseless. I challenge the government to prove that it has 1,300 hectares of land. The area which is in the possession of the government is not more than 250 acres.”
Memane, the sarpanch of Pargav Mevani village, said, “As long as we are alive, we will continue to oppose the project in Purandar. The government, under the name of development, has become blind to the problems that farmers face. The state government should realise that we are ordinary farmers and that we don’t need an airport. Instead, facilities that we need are electricity, water, fertilisers and other basic things that are indispensable for us. I have a total of 40 acres of irrigated land. I won’t allow the government to acquire my irrigated land at any cost. All the 5,000 villagers of Pargav Mevani are ready for a violent protest if needed.”
Ramdas Mahadik, a farmer who has 8 acres of land, said, “We had developed the piece of land after a lot of effort. We earn our bread and butter off it. Hence, under no circumstance will we give land for a project which is of no use to us”.