The state government has decided to name the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) after Late D B Patil or Dinka Balu Patil. For the past two years, project-affected persons (PAP) from 95 villages were demanding the same and staged protests several times.
Late Patil who was five times MLA from Panvel and one-time MP from Kulaba led several protests for the rights of villagers during his lifetime. Patil who was associated with the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), was born in Jasai, a village in the Uran taluka of the Raigad district.
Suresh Thakur, a former union leader at CIDCO and Janta Party workers says that Patil was from a farmer’s family and he was always ahead in farmers’ protests. When the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) acquired land in the Panvel district in the 1970s, Patil led several protests for farmers to get their rights. Thakur recalls that they were different political parties but they shared protests against Congress then.
In 1984, during one such protest, four farmers were killed and this forced the government to bring in the 12.5 percent developed land scheme for local farmers.
Thakur says that he headed protests for villagers of the Uran area when their land was acquired for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
For the two years, villagers from 95 villages in Navi Mumbai and villagers from Thane and Palghar districts staged a number of protests against the decision to name the airport after Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.