The state government has gone on the backfoot regarding compensation for project-affected people (PAP) for the proposed Pune international airport at Khed Special Economic Zone. In a meeting convened by the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on Friday, it was said the farmers would be given additional FSI and job opportunities but no ‘money’ as compensation. Officials from Khed SEZ, Maharashtra Airport Development Company and representative of PAP attended the meeting.
With this not going down well with PAP, the stalemate between the PAP and the administration continued, which led to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar directing the Maharashtra Airport Development Company, responsible for the airport development to revisit the old proposed site at Chakan-Rajgurunagar, for a recce again. Pawar said he would put forth the issues before the Chief Minister and have another round of discussion for finalising the site in the coming week.
Although the proposed airport project was cleared in a meeting in November convened under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, it is yet to receive a formal clearance from the government.
“With 1,200 hectares with Bharat Forge and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the government was to acquire 400 hectares from the farmers in the area for which they were to give compensation. However, farmers were demanding Rs 4-5 crore per acre in the area to which the government has refused,” said an MADC official.
That the project will need 1,600 hectares for two runways measuring 6 km by 2.5 km, was also not accepted by officials of the Khed SEZ. “They have proposed for one runway which would be 6 km by 1.5 km and this will not be enough,” said an official.
With the talks proving inconclusive, MADC officials have been directed by Pawar to revisit the old site at Rajgurunagar. The MADC officials who had visited the plot had said the Chakan site was unsuitable. “It is highly undulated and there is more irrigated land and again there is stiff opposition from the villagers here,” stated an MADC official.
Officials said the project is getting delayed the cost is escalating. They said two years ago, the project cost was around Rs 7,000 crore and now it stands at Rs 9,000 crore. The AAI had approved the site and stated that it was the ‘most conducive’. The reason cited was that it was a barren land and there were no natural obstructions.