While the compensation for Navi Mumbai PAPs will amount to more than Rs 20 cr, those of Chipi Airport received just Rs 1,500 per hectare

Mumbai : While the Navi Mumbai Airport project-affected people is going to get the relief package in crores, the project-affected people (PAP) of Chipi Airport got only peanuts. When the compensation for Navi Mumbai PAPs will amount to more than Rs 20 crore per hectare, the PAPs of Chipi Airport received just Rs 1,500 per hectare. The State government’s injustice to them is evident from the fact that their compensation was fixed as per the rate prevalent in 1966.

Chipi Airport PAPs are small in number and have no effective leader to drive home their point. Moreover, there is no unity among themselves. All these factors resulted in gross injustice to them. The Union government had declared Sindhudurg as a tourism district, the first one in Maharashtra, along with other sites in 1997. But efforts to lure tourists to the district that boasts of scenic beaches and forts by creating the requisite infrastructure, have been slow.
Though the State government had decided to construct a runway for flights in August 2005, surprisingly it changed its own decision after a meeting of State Industry and State Revenue Ministers, held at Nagpur Vidhan Bhavan on December 6, 2005. The meeting decided to construct an airport at Chipi for Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and directed administration to acquire 271 hectares of land in Chipi, Parule and Karli villages. The rates were fixed as Rs 1,500 per hectare for rocky land and Rs 35,000 per hectare for fertile land in January 2006 by the government as per the Revenue Act of 1966. This helped the State government to acquire 167 hectares land for just Rs 2.67 lakh.
“It was a mockery played on farmers. How they can be offered rates fixed 40 years before? In 1975, when the land was acquired for Kudal MIDC, which is just 20 km away from Chipi Airport, the famers were given a compensation of Rs 5,000 per hectare. And in 2006, the farmers in the same area got just Rs 1,500 per hectare. Opposition parties too have kept silent on this issue. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan should look into this,’’ criticised Prabhakar Narkar, Mumbai president of the Janta Dal (Secular).
Chipi airport is slated to be ready in 18 months from the date of initiation-February 18, 2013. The firm is building the airport on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis for the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
“When government was fixing our compensation, PAPs of Kolhapur were sanctioned Rs 35 to 40 lakh per hectare, farmers in Reliance SEZ were sanctioned Rs 20 lakh per hectare and we got Rs 1,500 for most of our land. They said the rocky land is un-fertile or barren. But we grow haapus, the world famous mango there and bricks carved from rocks in this area which are called as Chira get more rate than our land, Narkar blasted the State government.
An organisation Bhumi Bachav Sangharsh Samiti, representing PAPs of Chipi has filed a petition against this in Bombay High Court. “Though the State says that they acquired only 271 hectares of land, actually they have acquired 307 hectares which was violation of law. The relief package is a mockery,’’ Chandrbodhan Aalwe, president of the Samiti alleged.

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