Villagers from six villages opposing Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) along with project affected persons (PAPs) of other villages on Tuesday presented a united front at the Shetkari Parishad held at the Shri Cheroba ground in Kolhi village to oppose the relief and rehabilitation package of the state government.
The leaders at the gathering, who were guided by former Supreme Court justice PB Sawant and former Bombay high court judge BG Kolse-Patil, told the villagers not to get bogged down by “pressure tactics” of the state government and compromise on their demands.
“Cidco and the state government will not let the airport come up elsewhere since the industrial corridor is planned here. They are just trying to pressurise you... If the state government is not in a position to fulfil the demands of villagers, it should scrap the project. Either way, villagers are not at loss because the rates of land here will touch Rs100 crore in the days to come,” said Kolse-Patil.
Villagers who have formed the Navi Mumbai Antarrashtriya Vimantal Sangharash Samiti stressed that they were not opposing the airport project but were against the package that has been offered to them. The former high court judge said, “There needs to be complete transparency while carrying out negotiations for the project and the details of every meeting should be made public.
We have reached this stage of struggle because you all were let down by your political leaders during earlier negotiations.”
They said the state should only deal with Navi Mumbai Antarrashtriya Shetkari Sangharsha Samiti, which has been floated by farmers from these 6 villages after they parted ways with the Prakalpagrast Sangharash Samiti, led by local political leaders.
Kolse-Patil did not forget to warn the villagers that they should remain united. “The government tries to pressurise local leaders and starts sending notices and also arrests them. In such cases, villagers should remain united. Also, they should see to it that no outsider comes to villages and tries to influence villagers over the package,” he said.
Mahendra Patil, former sarpanch of Pargaon, said, “Cidco is offering us Rs1,000 per sq ft for construction of homes where as the rate in this area is Rs3,000 to Rs3,500 per sq ft. They will be taking 100% of our land and in return will be offering us only around 15% of land. The deal makes no sense.”
The acquisition of land in these six villages is significant since the main runway and core area of operations of the new airport will be in this part. The total area of land to be acquired from these villages is 457 hectares.
The main demand includes 35% developed plot with FSI of 3 and cash compensation of Rs6.25 crore per hectare. The other option forwarded by the committee to the state government includes distribution of plots under 12.5% scheme with an FSI of 3 and cash compensation of Rs16 crore per hectare. The third option which the farmers have put forward is leasing out their land to Cidco or the state government.