Villagers shun CIDCO's rehabilitation hearings

Despite the former CM Prithviraj Chavan’s past assurances that the Navi Mumbai International airport project would implement a model rehabilitation programme for project affected persons (PAPs), the reality seems quite different.

Frustrated with the inadequate information about the compensation they will receive for their land, villagers from Panvel taluka did not show up on the second day of the hearing sessions yesterday
Frustrated with the inadequate information about the compensation they will receive for their land, villagers from Panvel taluka did not show up on the second day of the hearing sessions yesterday

If anything, the government’s efforts seem to be going south, with several frustrated PAPs not even bothering to turn up at yesterday’s hearing session for the pilot project under the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA).

The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) was named the special planning authority for NAINA in 2012, to develop a smart city on the 600 sq km around the new airport. The project will span across 270 villages, affecting around 65,000 people. Currently, however, CIDCO has taken up the pilot phase in the 23 villages in Panvel taluka.

mid-day had reported that the development agency would hold hearing sessions in Belapur station complex to understand the objections and issues faced by the project-affected villagers, and to figure out adequate compensation for the land they will have to give up (‘CIDCO to hold hearing for pilot project’, November 23).

However, the villagers are upset that they have not received any information about the project for the past two years since CIDCO became the planning agency. Their frustration led to a commotion during the first day of the hearing sessions on November 27.

The villagers revealed that they are not fully aware of the project details, and sought clarification regarding the compensation they would receive. But once again, they left disappointed with the answers they got. On the second day, the villagers seemed to have given up on the rehabilitation process altogether, and did not even bother to show up at the hearing session yesterday.

Moreshwar Bhoir, one of the villagers, said, “Many people are not even aware of the hearings, and are confused about the project itself. CIDCO has informed us that our land will be used for the project, but has not yet told us about the compensation we will receive in return.”

CIDCO speak
When mid-day asked about the absence of villagers in the second hearing, the public relations officer at CIDCO, Mohan Ninawe, said, “Villagers did not turn up as many had come on the first day itself.”

V Venugopal, additional chief planner, NAINA, said, “We welcome people’s objections, and the purpose of this hearing is to reach out to the project affected people.” However, with the last hearing to be held today, it remains to be seen how CIDCO turns the situation around.

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