NEARLY 2,500 villagers from seven villages of Purandar on Thursday submitted their demands at the Collectorate’s Office to be forwarded to the Chief Minister, stating that they strongly oppose the acquisition of their lands for the proposed international airport in Purandar.
A group of people, including farmers, women and children, marched holding placards in black stating “Vimantal nako re, nako re, amachya gavat amhich hou upre” (We do not want the airport in our area, we would become outsiders in our own land).
While the agitation against the land acquisition started last week, they had decided to carry out a silent protest march followed by a seven-member team meeting the Additional Collector, Ramesh Kale, and handing over their demands.
The villagers from Pargaon Memande, Rajewadi, Amble, Ikhatpur, Khanwadi, Waghapur in their demands stated that they were farmers and farming was their prime occupation, and they were totally dependent on their farm lands for revenue.
“The proposed airport would take away our livelihood and no amount of compensation can take care of that. It’s only been some years since the lift irrigation project replenished the lands in the area giving us good agricultural produce. We have just started reaping the benefits of the farm produce and the government without any discussion wants to take our land for the airport project now,” said Ramrao Memane, sarpanch of Pargaon at the council hall.
Meanwhile, Dattatrey Zhurunge, Panchayat Samiti member Munjwadi added that it is injustice to the villagers that the government without any prior discussion with them announced the airport project on their land.
Women too expressed their protest by warning the authorities they would go on a fast to protest against the airport as this would affect the future of their children and their livelihoods. “It is been just three years since the land started seeing some vegetation and women have got into farming. We do not want this to be taken away,” said Asha Nimbalkar, sarpanch who had accompanied the rally.
Dipali Hole, another member, also corroborated Nimbalkar and said the airport needed 2,400 hectare of land and this would affect 1,660 houses. The villagers also pointed out that Khanawadi houses the memorial of Mahatma Phule and this would be affected due to the upcoming airport.
“We do not want any survey carried out and no land should be acquired,” said villagers while handing over the memorandum to the additional collector. The memorandum is addressed to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Divisional Commissioner, Collector, Police Commissioner, SDO Purandar and tehsildar Purandar.