2018, the year that was:Land acquisition biggest hurdle for Purandar airport to take off

The Maharashtra government had declared that the first flight from the proposed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport project at Purandar is expected take off by 2019. However, considering the pace of the process of land acquisition by the state government,the opening of the airport in 2019 appears to be a distant dream.

CS Gupta, executive director, Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) said, “The minimum time required for the government to complete the process of land acquisition is one year. However, considering the fact that we have already received the permission required for the construction of the proposed International airport in Purandar, we are in a position to complete the project ensuring the first flight takes off in 2019 given the fact that the land acquisition happens in due time.”

Ever since the announcement of the international airport in Purandar, the farmers of the seven villages comprising of Pargaon, Khanwadi, Ekhatpur, Kumbharvalan, Vanpuri and Udachiwadi, Tekwadi have been staging protest till date in the form of gram sabhas, agitating in front of tehsil office, district collectorate, rasta roko and passing resolutions to the effect in gram sabhas etc.

Farmers from these villages have time and again refused to give their land for the proposed airport in Purandar which will be spread over 2,400 hectares.

Bappu Memane, the sarpanch of Pargav Mevani village, said, “As long as we are alive, we will continue to oppose the project in Purandar. The government, under the name of development, has become blind to the problems that farmers face. The state government should realise that we are ordinary farmers and that we don’t need an airport. Instead, facilities that we need are electricity, water, fertilisers and other basic things that are indispensable for us.”

However, Naval Kishore Ram, Pune district collector is confident of land acquisition despite opposition from the villagers. He said, “We are confident of completing the process of land acquisition by taking the consent of all the farmers. We will convince them for the land acquisition by highlighting the benefits of the proposed International airport in Purandar.”

Courtesy: Hindustan times