Simple villagers under the banner of Mpa Vimantal Piditt Xetkari Samiti (MVPXS) on Wednesday stopped government officials who had come to demarcate the land for the proposed Mopa international airport. The government team comprising of two engineers, one forest guard and four labourers were forced to turn back from Varkhand village.
(MVPXS) Convenor Sandip Kambli revealed that the government officers were turned back as they had no documents absolutely empowering them to do any demarcation given the fact that the government has not yet acquired any land for the green field airport that has already received the Centre’s nod.
He accused the government of seeking to dispossess the locals of their land through illegal means and further alleged that the trees to be chopped down are already marked clandestinely on the hill.
Kambli pointed out that they have challenged the government proposal to acquire around 80 lakh square metre of land for the airport bordering the Maharashtra state and threatened to launch a violent agitation if the government continues with its attempts to brow beat the locals.
He said nearly 15,000 families depend upon the hill for their survival and livelihood and argued that Mopa airport will not be economically viable as within 100 kms to its South is the Dabolim international airport and about 150 kms to its North is the proposed airport at Chippi in Maharashtra.