Pune: Team in place to acquire land for Purandar airport, but process stuck

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A total of 2,832 hectares have to be acquired from Pargaon, Khanawadi, Munjwadi, Ekhatpur, Kumbharvalan, Vanpuri and Udachiwadi villages.

The Pune district administration has formed a team with seven deputy collectors to take forward the process of land acquisition for the proposed airport at Purandar. But the initiative has been delayed as the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) is yet to send a concrete proposal for it, with specifications of size of land and other details .

Seven villages in the taluka, mainly those with a population of over 30,000, will be affected by the project. A total of 2,832 hectares have to be acquired from Pargaon, Khanawadi, Munjwadi, Ekhatpur, Kumbharvalan, Vanpuri and Udachiwadi villages. Of this, 1,100 hectares will be used for the new greenfield airport while the rest will be used for projects related to it.

The district administration has appointed seven deputy collectors — one for each of the seven villages where land has to be acquired — and will be able to start the process as soon as it receives the proposal from MADC, said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.

A proposal seeking permission for land acquisition, sent to the state government in 2017, was recently approved.

In May last year, the government had given administrative approval for the release of Rs 3,513 crore for the project, but the amount is yet to be released to the MADC. The delay was attributed to the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls held this year.

The government had also formed a consortium of four agencies for investment of seed capital in the project.

The Pune district collector said competent officers of the rank of deputy collector have been appointed to oversee the process of land acquisition. “We haven’t started the process of acquisition yet as we haven’t got a proposal from the MADC. We will be acquiring the land for them and they need to send us a proposal with the area, location and other details of the land,” said Ram.

The team has, however, already started assessing the land and meeting local residents over the issue. “We have started preparatory work but actual work can only start after we get the proposal from MADC,” said Ram.

When asked about a section of local leaders and political leaders opposing the project, Ram said the administration has conducted some meetings with local residents already and received mixed reactions. “There are some who support it and some who are, at the moment, opposing it. But once the process actually starts and people know what compensation they are getting, then it becomes much easier to convince them,” said Ram.

For projects initiated by the government, there are various models of providing compensation to affected individuals — the direct purchase system, handing over part of the developed land and compensation to people who have parted with their land and providing an alternative piece of land.