An emotional appeal from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and a promise for increased compensation has once again propelled the upcoming Noida International Airport’s land acquisition from farmers who had denied consent for the project. The first phase of the greenfield airport, billed to be India’s largest upon completion and costing an estimated Rs 29,560 crore, is under development in the Jewar area in western Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district, some 75 km off national capital Delhi.
But the mega aviation project of the UP government appeared to have hit turbulence earlier this year when a section of farmers from the six villages, whose land is to be acquired, denied consent to give up their property in lieu of compensation, according to officials.The officials said land for second phase development of the airport is to be acquired from six villages — Ranhera, Kureb, Dayanatpur, Karauli Bangar, Mundrah and Birampur.
According to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the consent of at least 70 per cent land owners is required for acquisition.The law also mandates several other features, like rate of compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation facilities, for the government to proceed with land acquisition.
On October 14, Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh led a group of around 200 farmers to Lucknow where a meeting with Chief Minister Adityanath was held.”Hum aap se saudebaazi nahi karna chahte (We do not want to negotiate a deal with you,” Adityanath told the farmers in Lucknow during the meeting, as he promised them a hiked compensation of Rs 3,400 per sq metre (including the interest amount).
Stressing that the people of Jewar are “like family” to him, Adityanath said, “Your contribution in development of an international airport will be there for your generations to see.” The chief minister added that “the development of the region would mean nothing if the people living in Jewar do not reap its benefits.” According to people privy to the work, the land acquisition process for the second phase had lost momentum for nearly 10 months but has once again gained pace with administration officials and the local MLA holding multiple public meetings this week.
“The consent for land acquisition has reached 60 per cent now and it is expected to cross the minimum requisite 70 per cent before Diwali,” Jewar MLA Singh told PTI. The BJP legislator, who had played a key role in land acquisition for the first phase as well, is currently touring all the six villages in his constituency along with administration officials.
Deputy Collector (Jewar) Abhay Pratap Singh said a total of 1,365 hectare land is in the second phase of which around 1,185 hectare is owned by private persons (farmers). The rest is already owned by the state government.”There are 7,164 land owners and consent of a minimum 5,015 owners is required for land acquisition. So far, we have got consent of around 4,300 farmers. The compensation amount would be transferred directly to land owner’s bank accounts in April 2023 in accordance with the government rules,” Singh told PTI.
The deputy collector added that the administration has instructions from the chief minister to ensure that all support and cooperation is offered to the villagers and consent sought amiably.Singh was part of negotiations for the first phase land acquisition from 2018 in the administration team led by the then District Magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh that broke consent impasse with farmers.
Both were transferred out of Gautam Buddh Nagar in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Deputy Collector Singh was recently brought back by the government as sub-divisional magistrate for Jewar.According to officials, the airport is being developed in four phases by the Switzerland-based concessionaire Zurich International Airport AG’s special purpose vehicle Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL).
In the first phase spread, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024 end, operations will begin with one runway and a capacity of handling 1.20 crore passengers annually by then. The first phase will be spread over 1,300 hectare, according to officials. The airport is billed to be India’s largest airport upon full completion in the 2040s. It will be spread over 5,000 hectare, the officials added.