New Delhi: To convince Jewar farmers who have not yet given consent for land acquisition for the proposed airport in the region, the local MLA is planning to take them on a tour of the Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi.
Thakur Dhirendra Singh hopes the farmers will see the development IGI airport has brought to the area and will agree to part with their land so that similar development could come to Jewar.
“I have written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation asking for permission so I can take farmers to Terminal 3 and they can see how the airport brings development to the region. The land acquisition process is on the verge of completion. Those farmers who have not consented yet, will agree when they see and hear about Delhi airport,” Singh said.
The BJP leader said he, along with his aides, will take around 200 farmers from six villages – Rohi, Parohi, Dyanatpur, Ranhera, Banwari Bas and Kishorepur - that come under the first phase of the airport.
“Once they see the numerous young people employed there, they will know what Jewar stands to benefit and their hearts will change,” the BJP leader said.
Even though most farmers in Jewar have agreed to give their land, there is still discontent among the affected families.
Virendra Singh, a farmer from Rohi village, said he had begrudgingly consented to give up his land. “I did not want to give my land. But others were agreeing, so I agreed too. What could I have done?” he asked.
He did not think much of the politician’s decision to take farmers to Delhi airport as well. “To me, it looks like a narrow approach. They think the farmers have never seen an airport, that we don’t know anything. What’s to see there (at Delhi airport)?” he said.
He was of the opinion that the airport visit doesn’t matter much as most farmers have already agreed to give their land.
Like other farmers from the region, Virendra is worried about the rehabilitation process. “I’m not happy with the provisions of the rehabilitation process. They say they will give us twice the value of our house to build another house when we get rehabilitated. They will send an expert who will evaluate the cost of my house. What if he evaluates it at Rs 2 lakhs, even though I’ve spent Rs 10 lakhs on it? They’ll give me Rs 4 lakhs, twice the estimate and I’ll still lose Rs 6 lakhs,” he said.
Many villagers gave away their lands for fear of missing out, but doubts about compensation and rehabilitation linger.
“I built my house with my blood and sweat. And I’ve agreed to give it away. Yeh vikas nahi, vinaash hai (this is not development, this is destruction).” Virendra said.
Devendra Singh from Thora village, who has agreed to sell his land in Parohi, too, has doubts about the proposed airport visit.
“I don’t know which farmers will go to see the airport. I don’t know what will be achieved from it. There will be planes there, that’s all. And affected families will be rehabilitated to a different place in the region. It is not like they’ll live near the airport when it is made,” he said.
On the other hand, Bhagwan Singh, husband of the Pradhan of Rohi village, who too has agreed to give his land, feels that seeing the Delhi airport may allay the fears and doubts of some farmers.
As of Tuesday, the authorities have acquired 1,145 hectares of land from 3,076 farmers in region. Over 500 landless people from Jewar too have given their consent, taking the total to 3,600.
The government needed 1,300 hectares in Jewar for the first phase of the project, out of which just over a hundred acres were already owned by the government. Over 93 percent of required land has been acquired, but authorities are yet reach the target for consent from affected families.
Under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, at least 70 percent of the affected families must consent to the land acquisition process for the project to go ahead. Authorities, however, say that figure will likely be reached in the coming days and the project has virtually got the green light.
The greenfield international airport project at Jewar had hit a roadblock when authorities missed the 31 August deadline to acquire requisite land in the region. After a week’s extension during which the MLA went on a village to village drive asking for farmers’ consent, the process gained momentum and is now on the brink of completion.