Construction for the Navi Mumbai Airport. (Express Photo: Narendra Vaskar)
Officials of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal agency for the construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport, faced stiff protests Tuesday from residents of Kopar village in Panvel over the decided to take over a 25-acre plot for the under-construction airport.
Twenty-eight villagers, claiming they had not received any compensation from the government for land acquired from them previously, gathered in the village amid heavy police presence. “This land was taken from us in 1970 for a drainage scheme. We were offered peanuts as compensation, which we had rejected. After several protests, the scheme was abandoned. We never got any money,” said Chandrakant Patil, a villager.
Patil, along with others, squatted at the plot in protest even as Panvel police tried to make them leave. “We have written to the CIDCO managing director, the chief minister and other officials. We plan to meet the chief minister and make him aware of our issues Thursday. If that also doesn’t work, we will sit on our land until we are given our due,” said Padmakar Patil, another resident.
CIDCO officials claimed that according to official records, the land has already been acquired by the government. “The Raigad district administration acquired the land in 1971 according to official documents and so, there is no question of compensating the villagers again,” a senior officer from CIDCO said.