GIVING A much-needed impetus to the proposed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport at Purandar, the district revenue department officials have formed committees to assess and review three models — Amaravati land acquisition project (Andhra Pradesh), the Cochin airport model of rehabilitation and the Navi Mumbai rehabilitation project model. A suitable model will then be adopted for the city’s new airport project.
While local residents from seven villages created a furor over the new international airport on Friday, villagers on Sunday met Water Resources Minister Vijay Shivtare and handed over a memorandum stating that if a “good rehabilitation model” is presented to them, they will not oppose the project.
“If there is overall development for Purandar taluka and progress for the villagers, we would support the project,” said the letter handed over to Shivtare.
Earlier on Friday, villagers from Pargaon Memane, Khanawadi, Munjawadi, Rajewadi, Amble, Waghapur and Ikhatpur had assembled at Pargaon to protest against the “land acquisition”. However, some of the villagers, gripped with fear of losing the project to Khed again, submitted the memorandum to Shivtare.
With the Chief Minister having given six months for land acquisition, the officials from the district administration and the Maharashtra Airport Development Company are now ready to assess the various models that have seen successful rehabilitation.
“A six-member team — three from the revenue department and three from MADC — will be assessing and reviewing the Amaravati airport model of rehabilitation next week and then, this would be followed up by a review of the Cochin model of rehabilitation, followed by the Navi Mumbai model. All these models will be discussed and reviewed, and then the best model will be adopted,” said District Collector Saurabh Rao.
The revenue team, comprising Sub Divisional Officer of Purandar Sanjay Asawale, Rehabilitation Officer Uttam Patil and Land Acquisition Officer Uday Bhosale along with three MADC officials, will visit the Amaravati airport rehabilitation site and get a first-hand experience and details on the rehabilitation process.
According to the team conducting the assessment, the farmers in the Vijayawada-Guntur region were given suitable incentives so that they surrender their lands to build the new state capital Amaravati. In addition to the monetary compensation, it was agreed upon that a part of the land acquired from the villagers would be returned to them after a specific number of years.
Also being studied is the Cochin airport model of land acquisition. The Cochin airport model became a case study for the World Bank for its unique rehabilitation package, which included freehold title of six per cent of the developed property to the 719 people whose land was acquired, alternative land in some cases and jobs to the project-affected, among other benefits. For the senior officials from the Civil Aviation department, MADC Vice Chairman and Pune Collector has to conduct a site visit of the Cochin model after having a talk with Additional Chief Secretary of Kerala VJ Kurien, who was the then managing director of the Cochin International Airport and earlier collector who had carried out the rehabilitation between 1996 and 99.
The Chief Minister has also asked the revenue officials to assess the Navi Mumbai Airport rehabilitation model implemented by City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco). Under this project, the villagers would retain 60 per cent of the land area and the balance 40 per cent will be given to Cidco, 25 per cent would be meant for developing infrastructure like roads, parks, markets, schools, healthcare, sporting facilities etc and 15 per cent will be sold by Cidco to generate revenue to build additional infrastructure.
While the land acquisition and development is expected to be completed by 2019, the first flight from Pune’s international airport is likely to take off from 2020, , the Chief Minister had stated regarding the proposed airport.