Navi Mumbai villagers threaten to block work on airport

Updated: Sep 11, 2019, 08:17 IST | Anamika Gharat

Villagers harrowed by the floods that destroyed their homes thrice already this year, threaten protests if flooding issue is not addressed

Navi Mumbai villagers threaten to block work on airport
CIDCO Joint MD Prashant Nanavre assured villagers of resolving the issue

Navi Mumbai villagers, affected by heavy flooding this monsoon, on Tuesday threatened to block work on the new Navi Mumbai airport if their issues weren't addressed. After mid-day reported on some villages in Navi Mumbai being denied help by CIDCO officials during the flooding last week, CIDCO Joint MD Prashant Nanavre visited the area on Tuesday morning with more than 300 villagers in attendance.

Villages surrounding the new airport land suffered flooding for the third time in the last two months owing to the Ulwe river diversion and landfilling currently underway. Dungi being the last village on CIDCO's list of villages to be evacuated for the airport was given help during the floods while the adjacent six to seven villages were conveniently ignored by all authorities including the tahsildar and CIDCO, villagers alleged.

The flooding last week had left villagers stranded and helpless. File pic
The flooding last week had left villagers stranded and helpless. File pic

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Chinchpada, Kolhi, Kopar-Owle, Varche Owle, Pargaon, Targhar, Kombadbhuje and Waghivli Vada were among the affected villages. In 2014, these villages were involved in massive protests against CIDCO over the airport. Mahendra Patil of Pargao village said that the villagers weren't even informed of a heavy rain situation in advance nor was any help sent their way. "Around 100 houses here were under four to five feet water for almost two days. None of the CIDCO officials came to help us neither did they provide us a safe place to move to. Ovale villagers decided to meet the officials regarding this. But no one paid any heed," he said.

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Ovale village Sarpanch Reshma Mungaji too said that the villagers have been trying to convince CIDCO officials of the ill-effects of the airport project. "Now the situation is getting worse every year. Last year, some of us had explained to them about the flooding issues and the kind system they should adopt to address this. They have appointed a private group for this but no report has been submitted yet to solve the waterlogging issue in our villages," she said, adding that CIDCO must give them an alternative place if it wasn't keen on addressing the issue.

"We will not live like this in such a dangerous situation. We will not allow anyone to work on the Navi Mumbai airport if this continues," she added. Nanavre assured them of resolving the issue after discussing it with his officials. CIDCO spokesperson Priya Ratambe said, "I or any CIDCO officer cannot comment on this matter."

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