Days after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave a green signal to the new airport plan for Pune,villagers whose land will be acquired for the purpose are up in arms.
Two days back,one of the villages passed a resolution opposing acquisition of land and construction of the airport in their area while another village observed a bandh on Monday. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar,who interacted with farmers of the area on Monday,however promised that land acquisition would be carried out only with the consent of the local farmers.
The site for the new airport was finalised — at Khed Special Economic Zone,45 kms from Pune city — during a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held in New Delhi on November 14. The Pune International Airport Project would be managed by the Airports Authority of India.
The airport with two runways would need 1,268 hectare land. While 850 hectare land has already been acquired for the SEZ project,the remaining 418 hectares will have to be acquired. Around 180 families are likely to be affected. The airport required a 6 km by 2 km plot,officials said.
Addressing the villagers at a function,Pawar said airport would benefit farmers in the area as there would be faster movement of farm products to different parts of the country and even abroad. “But the government will not run bulldozers on your houses. The land acquisition will be done with consent,” he said.
Pawar said earlier it was thought that Dive Ghat area would be appropriate for an airport site. “Maval and Mulshi area were rejected because of hilly terrain. We finally zeroed in on Khed area due to its vast barren and plain surface,” he said.
Meanwhile,Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said the land acquisition process for the new airport will begin from December. Deshmukh said they discuss would land acquisition with the villagers. “We will hold discussions for land acquisition and offer a good financial package to the farmers whose land will be acquired,” he said.