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Airport expansion stymied: Landowners plea
Published on 26 Jan. 2010 12:21 AM IST
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Displeased over the unilateral decision of the Dimapur district administration in withdrawing/canceling the proposal for extension of the Dimapur Airport touching Aoyimti village and Hollohon colony,after a series of meetings and completion of formalities concluding in fixation of compensation, the landowners of Aoyimti village asked the district administration to pay agreed compensation amount failing which, they have threatened to take their own course of action and for which the authorities would be held responsible for any consequences. Giving a brief chronology of the issue, secretary of the landowners, Aoyimti village, I. Sashi Jamir pointed out that following the proposal for extension of the airport, a meeting was held between the district administration, officials of the Airport Authority with the Aoyimti village council and Hollohon colony on March 3, 2009 at the DC’s conference hall. The letter stated that Aoyimti village conducted its own survey through the village council with representatives of Hollohon colony where more than 108 of Aoyimti and 27 households of Hollohon colony were about to be effected including a church in Hollohon colony. As so many would be affected, the landowners were initially unwilling to part with their plots. However, on the assurance made to the landowners by the DC Dimapur that due compensation would be paid as per the prevailing market rate besides giving preference to its residents for employment to Grade III and IV jobs, it was finally agreed to go ahead. The landowners were also assured of compensation for assets like buildings fisheries and plantation. The joint meeting concluded with an agreement that the village council would try to persuade the landowners to part with their plots in view of the proposed extension of the Airport. Likewise, an emergency meeting was conducted on March 19, 2009 to discuss the issue during which the public resolved not to part with their land and immovable assets which have been developed for the last more than six decades. The decision was subsequently communicated to the DC on March 23 who invited both the Aoyimti village council and Hollohon colony for another meeting on May 22 which was however adjourned to June 5. Accordingly, the meeting was held with a representative from AAI during which the landowners from Aoyimti village insisted upon the airport authority as well as the district administration not to go beyond 150 meters from the present runway as it would drastically reduce the geographical jurisdiction of the village. The airport official, however, said that under no circumstances would the extension be less than 200 meters and in the event it was not accepted, the modernization/development would be shifted down to Assam. The Aoyimti villagers therefore reluctantly acceded to the request maintaining that the village would not remain a stumbling block for development. The landowners said that within no time the authorities offered Rs 450 per square feet as against their demand of Rs 600 per sq.ft but accepted the offer. Following this, departments of land records, PWD (Housing), forest and horticulture expeditiously executed their works as assigned by the competent authorities. However, the landowners through an order on November 28 , the authorities informed the rate agreed upon (Rs.450/- per sq.feet) as compensation “was too exorbitant and the scope of expansion of the Airport was also hindered by the presence of NH 39 just in front of the Airport and also the presence of several petrol pumps near the Airport. Therefore, the members decided to shift the Airport to a more suitable site in future.” Surprised by the about-turn, the representation stated that since the rate was fixed by the authorities and accepted by the landowners, there was no reason why it was later considered as being “too exorbitant.” The landowners described the action as “unconstitutional, inhuman, arbitrary and undemocratic in the eye of the law” as no show cause notice was served on them.

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