Some villagers from Pargaon in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday held a protest against the Ulwe hill cutting work at the site of the Navi Mumbai International Airport, days before a bhoomi pujan there by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. The villagers have said the work would affect them in the future.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) is cutting the Ulwe hill and land-filling the airport site with the debris. They plan to raise the height of the greenfield site by at least 8 meters by this process. Villagers fear the filling could make the area flood-prone.
“We stay close to the site where they are cutting the Ulwe hill. We are scared it will block the waterway to our village. We also believe the work will cause land disturbances in the future,” Mahindra Patil, representing the villagers, said. CIDCO is using high-power drilling equipment and land mines to blast the hills. They plan to complete the first phase of blasting by December.
“As project-affected people, we have not been given the required quota of work as was informed to us. We were promised 50 per cent of the job opportunities at the airport site. If CIDCO fails to fulfil its promises, we will approach the judiciary,” Mahindra added.
A CIDCO official, however, said: “Due care is being taken during the hill blasting work. None of the villagers will be affected.”