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Haryana

Posted at: May 26, 2018, 12:10 AM; last updated: May 26, 2018, 12:10 AM (IST)

Karnal airport may hit land acquisition wall

Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25

The Karnal airport project, recently announced under the regional connectivity scheme of the Central Government, may run into rough weather with farmers up in arms against the land acquisition for the project.

In the eye of the storm is the recent notification to acquire 280 acres of land in Karnal to extend the runway of the proposed airport under the new Direct Purchase Policy of the Haryana Government which the farmers alleged was “discriminatory and illogical”.

“The state government’s land acquisition policy is discriminatory and unfair to the farmers, especially from Kalvehedi and Neval villages, whose land the state government intended to acquire for the airport,” alleged Inderpreet Singh, a farmer from Kalvehadi.

Farmers of Kalvehedi village are virtually being forced for part with their land through the government-appointed land aggregators under the new policy while Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act made it mandatory for the state government to pay collector rates for the acquired land. “The collector rates in neighbouring Budha Khera, Chapra Khera and Phusgarh villages is over Rs 1 crore per acre,” said another farmer Bhavneet Singh Kalyan.

While the BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa were paying the compensation four times the market rate to the farmers for the acquired land, the Haryana Government was giving a raw deal to the farmers as far as compensation for the acquired land was concerned, alleged Inderpreet Singh.

In fact, a veil of secretary is being maintained by the officials concerned on the amount of compensation to be paid to the farmers for their acquired land. “While the officials are dilly-dallying on the payment of the compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, the farmers were being asked to quote the price of their land under the new policy whose certain provisions were clearly anti-farmer,” said Inderpreet Singh.

Elaborating on ‘loopholes’ in the new policy, he alleged that the farmers would have no right to challenge the compensation award. Besides, the acquired land would not vest with the farmers if the purpose for which the land was acquired was not fulfilled, he alleged.

The Karnal airport was first announced in 2008 during the previous Congress regime and about 18 acres of land was to be initially acquired for the project. The land requirement was pegged at 28 acres last. However, the land requirement notified for acquisition for the project shot up to 280 acres this year.

They regretted that though they had met the Chief Minister four times yet he had failed to give any satisfactory reply to them. Now, the farmers proposed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

Viable or not, that’s the question 

Point

Karnal is a major industrial town having several major industries such agricultural implements, rice and leather industry. Besides, the handloom hub of Panipat is nearby which can give traffic for the Karnal airport. Karnal also boasts of several Central Government institutes, which regularly hold international conferences and symposiums. — Harish Kataria, Panipat businessman

Counter-point

Sustained operations from the hinterland are unviable in the foreseeable future in a country like India where the regional aviation commuter industry is yet to take off. With large airports such as New Delhi and Chandigarh, which are well-connected with other cities, it would not be commercially profitable to launch flights from a small regional airport. — SK Sharma, aviation expert

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