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Land heat on airport city

Durgapur, Nov. 23: Over 300 villagers who had not accepted compensation for land acquired for the airport city project in Andal today blocked NH2 and demonstrated outside the block development office demanding higher prices for their plots.

“The Left government had acquired around 2,380 acres. Around 480 landlosers from whom 562 acre were acquired did not accept cheques. We demand that the new government either return our land or pay us compensation according to the current market rate. The government will also have to pay five years’ wages at one go to over 2,000 farm labourers who became jobless after the acquisition,” said Manoj Roy, a Trinamul activist in Andal.

A delegation of the Krishak Khetmajur Sangram Committee, which has Trinamul, Congress and SUCI supporters as members, submitted a deputation to the BDO in support of their demand.

Around 11.30am, a procession led by committee convenor and SUCI leader Dona Goswami arrived at the Andal crossing and blocked the highway for nearly half an hour. They lifted the blockade following a request from police.

The agitators then went to the Andal BDO’s office and shouted slogans against Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL), the promoter of the Rs 10,000-crore project.

Landloser Sushil Ghosh said: “Our land was acquired against our wish. Why is the government not taking any initiative to return our land?”

Two days ago, landlosers chased away contract workers building a 4.1km road connecting NH2 with the airport’s passenger terminal.

BAPL has said it hopes to finish constructing the airport by the year-end and then apply for DGCA permission.

Asked about the delayed project, industries minister Partha Chatterjee said on the sidelines of an interactive session in Calcutta: “We are in the process of resolving the issues. We are talking to them (BAPL). We are asking them to sign certain things which are in the process.”