Navi Mumbai airport: villagers to stay put till demands are met

The residents of four villages located on the site of the proposed Navi Mumbai international airport have decided to stay put and not vacate their homes till their demands are met.

The villagers of Kombadbhuje, Ulwe, Ganeshpuri and Targhar hamlets accused the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) of demolishing their temple and confiscating the idols. In protest, the villagers have refused to vacate the project site, which CIDCO has to handover to airport developer GVK by June.

The villagers said that they would also not be availing of CIDCO’s incentive scheme, which offers an additional ₹500 per square feet to villagers for vacating their homes and demolishing them before March 31.

Sudhakar Koli, a resident of Kombadbhuje, said, “The four villages have decided to not avail of the scheme till CIDCO meets our demand of relocating us with respect to a place that has water, electricity and schools. If needed, we will halt the airport work like we did before.”

Vijay Shirdhonkar, a leader of Project Affected People, said that CIDCO officials razed a temple on Ulwe hill that the villagers frequented. He said, “On Holi, we were told that the temple would be demolished within three days to make way for blasting work on the hill. But when we celebrating the festival, CIDCO officials demolished the temple. They took away the idols and kept them in a godown in Vashi.”

However, CIDCO officials claimed that the temple was an illegal structure as it was located on government land. A CIDCO officer said, “We would have demolished the temple even if it not coming in the way of the project. For every temple in these villages, we have allotted land and funds. We have also sanctioned ₹1 crore for the construction of temples in the rehabilitation scheme.”

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 1:58:13 PM |

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