Birsa Munda Airport Visthapit Morcha leaders hold talks with district administration officials, while outfit members demonstrate in Ranchi on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)
Members of Birsa Munda Airport Visthapit Morcha on Sunday tried to plough a piece of land belonging to the army near Ranchi airport, only to be stopped by the police.
Later, the villagers handed over a memorandum addressed to deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey to subdivisional magistrate Amit Kumar, demanding cancellation of a fresh land acquisition order for expansion of the airport. They also asked the district administration to look into the issue of 546 acres now in the possession of the airport authorities, which they claimed had not been acquired but requisitioned.
“We had come with a dozen ploughs and bulls. But, the police chased away our bulls and we could not plough the land,” said Ajit Oraon, a member of the Morcha.
The 200 odd villagers then staged a demonstration near the airport for about an hour around 10am. After the district administration officials assured them that their problems would be looked into, they left the place.
SDM Kumar confirmed that the villagers tried to plough the land near the airport.
“The villagers were not allowed to step on to the land in question. They submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner, which was received by me. The agitation was peaceful and no passenger was affected by it,” Kumar said.
The deputy commissioner will hold a meeting with army officials about the land in question on September 27.
The villagers were promised that the district administration will talk to them after September 27. Choubey had met them on September 20 but talks yielded no result.
Meanwhile, Choubey sent a report to the state urban development department stating that a total of 1121.38 acres of land have been acquired near the airport at different point of time since 1941, and the villagers’ claim of non-acquisition of their land was without support. While in 1941-44, a total of 1068.87 acres had been acquired, another 52.51 acres of land had been acquired in 1963-64, the DC’s report said.
The district administration wants to further acquire 373 acres from the villagers for the expansion of the airport. The administration also wants 140 acres near the airport now owned by the army for the expansion.