Navi Mumbai: Standing tall between Cidco & airport

Friday, 17 January 2014 - 12:14pm IST | Place: Panvel | Agency: DNA
Former sarpanch Mahendra Patil is determined to eke out a good deal for airport land owners.
  • Nandu Kurne DNA

Former sarpanch of Pargaon, Mahendra Patil, is now at the forefront of the protest initiated by aggrieved farmers from the six villages opposed to the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project. They’re fighting for ‘just and rightful’ demands from the state government. However, the protests have become a major hurdle in the way of Cidco’s ambitious project. And with former judges PB Sawant and BG Kolse-Patil lending their support to the agitation and guiding the farmers, Cidco’s headache only seems to have worsened.

“The planning agency is doing everything possible to win over the trust of the villagers. Ahead of our agitation, Cidco sent two officers to meet former judges Sawant and Kolse-Patil and explain their side. We only demand that Cidco study our demands and then discuss issues solely with our committee,” claimed Patil.

However, officials of the planning agency have been claiming that Patil, who lost in the recently held elections to Pargaon gram panchayat, does not enjoy the support of the villagers and should, therefore, not be taken seriously. Patil demolishes this claim, saying, “It is true that I lost the elections and I am well aware of those who engineered my defeat. My party [Congress] helped the opposition [referring to PWP] and they came together to ensure my defeat. I lost by mere three votes.”

He claimed, “If I did not have support, villagers of these six villages would not have appointed me to lead this agitation. I have written documents on villagers lending me support. The committee we have formed comprises well-educated people like doctors, engineers, lawyers from our villages and all the decision will be taken after consulting the villagers. There will be total transparency.”

Patil, who still is the sarpanch of Pargaon gram panchayat since his tenure is to end in February, says, “Villagers from other villages have also started approaching us and have lent support to our agitation. Villagers are wary of Cidco’s assurances and want concrete action.”

The NMIA project is shrouded in uncertainty with villagers from six villages refusing to part with the land, if they are not given compensation as per their terms. Villagers have put forward three options to award compensation to them before the state government that includes leasing of land.

Leading the way
Former sarpanch of Pargaon, Mahendra Patil, is now at the forefront of the protest initiated by aggrieved farmers from the six villages opposed to the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project.

However, officials of the planning agency have been claiming that Patil, who lost in the recently held elections to Pargaon gram panchayat, does not enjoy the support of the villagers and should, therefore, not be taken seriously.


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