The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) is working on a war-footing to complete the first phase of the international airport in Navi Mumbai by December this year. They have completed most of the land acquisition. On Wednesday, the bulldozers razed houses of many residents of villages near the airport site. The officials had to face the ire of the residents, since the CIDCO had not served the notices. Moreover, the CIDCO is yet to rehabilitate the Project Affected Persons (PAPs). The airport will come up on sprawling 2,250 hectares and the project is estimated to cost INR 24,000 crore. The CIDCO has acquired the land for the airport from 18 villages surrounding the area. People from 10 villages have been compelled to give up their plots and ancestral homes.
Despite promising the rehabilitation package, the CIDCO has not done anything and yet razed their homes, evicting them overnight. The villages’ elders are reluctant to leave their homes. However, many have been forced to evict, who return to the spot where their homes were earlier and weep over the loss. More than 50 people over the last 10 years have lost their lives due to the stress and agony of losing their ancestral homes for the project. Many senior citizens who have not been able to take this shock have suffered heart attacks, taken ill and died reminiscing of their homes. In Chinchpada, as many as 20 such persons have died and the villagers say nearly 50 people have succumbed in eight villages. Apart from providing alternative homes, the CIDCO had promised basic amenities like schools, community temple, dispensaries and a crematorium. However, it has failed to keep its word, allege the villagers.
Source: FreePress Journal