Hollongi Greenland Airport | GoAP giving lip service, depriving land owners, alleges GALAPFH

By A O News Service

ITANAGAR, Jan 03: Greenland Airport Land Affected People’s Forum of Hollongi (GALAPFH) on Thursday accused the ruling state Govt of giving lip service about the proposed airport at Hollongi without any seriousness for execution of the project.

Addressing media persons in Arunachal Press Club here, GALAPFH general secretary Likha Teji armed with volumes of official documents took a dig at the GoAP and Union MoS (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju for telling blatant lies.

The airport project to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 9,018 crore was cleared by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and even Rs 2,000 crore still available now for its execution. But dillydallying policy of the GoAP has caused inordinate delay to the ambitious project.

The project involves 259 owners of 400 hectare land (core area) while outside number could be 3,000, Teji said, adding that the GoAP has reportedly submitted a DPR to the GoI on the premise that all stakeholders were taken into confidence, including land owners by conducting hearing.

Pointing out that neither single hearing was conducted nor the land owners consulted while they have not been informed about the compensation to be paid to them against their prime cultivable land, Teji claimed and quoted cabinet note (P-9) of  08.05.18 (obtained through RTI) in which observation of 11-member committee headed by Land Minister Nabam Rebia says: “4) This land was a no man’s land during the 1960s when Chakma were settled and therefore presumption can be drawn that it was a Govt land though no formal notification/order has been issued by the Govt so far. 5) It is a fact that at present the entire 14 sqkm (which on the ground may be actually more than 14 sq km) is under the occupation of some person or the other and the land is being used for agriculture and residential purpose mainly since more than 15-25 years. 6) Out of this 14 sqkm about 936 acres is required for construction of Green Field Airport and this land is under physical occupation of Chakmas, Nyishis and Karbi families. 7) The present status of persons living in this area is that they are occupiers of Govt land”. 

He also claimed that the land management secretary and Papum Pare DC have categorically said that they were unaware of any hearing. Moreover, the GALAPFH, in a memorandum to DC on 29.09.18, had urged for fixation of revised land rate at par with the present market price escalation @ 10% per annum in addition to @ Rs 1,014 per sqmtr fixed by Papum Pare DC in 2014 for Hollongi Greenland Airport. But regrettably, the GoAP has applied above rate for acquiring land for 12th NDRF Bn HQs while in airport case the rate has been reportedly fixed at Rs 255 per sqmtr which was totally unacceptable by land owners.

Moreover, Rijiju, during a meeting with a GALAPFH in New Delhi on 09.02.15, was categorical that he was in favour of early construction of the airport while in another  meeting on 16.02.15 all senior officers concerned had cleared all doubts of land owners. Interestingly, Rijiju during recent Popum Poma Festival on had said that his responsibility for the airport was over. Does it not mean that he was a party with the GoAP in cheating the land owners, he questioned?

Nabam Tarin, who has been serving as Hollongi GB since 1991, said that he is the owner of highest land (10 bighas) to be acquired by the GoAP. He is a native of Balijan area where his late father was born and the claim that the land belonged to the GoAP was totally false. When Airport Authority of India and other officials had come for conducting survey, the land owners had permitted in greater interest of the state but against payment of genuine compensation and jobs for kith and kin of land owners, he informed.

Most of the land owners are farmers and would lose their only means to earn livelihood, he claimed, adding that the GoAP should be considerate to the poor farmers.

Arunachal Pradesh is the only state in the country whose capital has no airport. Thus, the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on 10.05.18 had given green signal for early construction of Greenfield Airport at Hollongi by deciding to recommend for onward submission to the GoI.

This was the outcome of threadbare deliberations on report of Land Management Minister Nabam Rebia-headed committee to turn the dream project into a reality. The report enlists ownership status of land measuring 948.56 acres at Hollongi for the purpose, as sought by the GoI. However, Khandu had exhorted the people to adopt pro-development attitude to speed up the project pending since 1997 while responding to questions from media persons on Dec 30 last, while responding to  questions from  media persons on the sideline of foundation laying ceremony of 12th NDRF Bn HQs here.

However, the long pending civilian airport project was given Centre’s green signal by PM Singh during a telephonic conversation with then CM Apang on 09.06.06, then  Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had  laid its foundation stone at Banderdewa on 20.02.07 with three-year completion target before the litigation begun to delay the project.

In fact, Union MoS (Civil Aviation) Jayant Sinha at Itanagar on 30.09.18 had said: “Bhoomi pujan’ will be held in December next to begin the work of the project which would cost around Rs 1,200 crore. The GoI is determined to start work despite the high cost of compensation”.

APCC president Takam Sanjoy on 24.05.18 had charged Rijiju of forwarding a complaint letter of some BJP workers to Civil Aviation Minister long time back “opposition will get money, therefore don’t sanction”.

“Compensation in any of GoI project is a must whether airport, railways, Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH), army or defence establishment etc. as Constitution Amendment Bill, 2013 was enacted for fair, transparent land compensation payments, particularly for tribals, Sanjoy had said in a release.

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