More rough weather for Hollongi airport project

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Jan 3: In a major setback to the state’s dream project – the greenfield airport in Hollongi – the Greenfield Airport Land Affected People’s Forum of Hollongi (GALAPFH) has outright rejected the report submitted by the committee headed by Land Management Minister Nabam Rebia.
Rebia had headed an 11-member committee, which included the power, the rural development and the agriculture ministers, among others, to study the ownership status of the land for the proposed airport. The committee submitted a report wherein it said “the present status of persons living in this area (proposed site) is that they are occupiers of government land.”
The committee mentioned that the entire 14 sq km area affected by the proposed airport was a no man’s land during the 1960s when the Chakmas were settled there “and therefore presumption can be drawn that it was a government land though no formal notification/order has been issued by the government so far.”
Contesting the government’s report, GALAPFH general secretary Likha Teji said, “How come all of a sudden they declared that we are occupiers of government land? We have been living on this land for generations.”
Addressing media persons during a press conference at the press club here on Thursday, Teji termed the report “unilateral and false, which hurts the sentiments of the landowners.”
He demanded that the report be recalled, saying it might otherwise create chaos and confusion.
“More than 3000 families’ members are affected by the proposed project,” Teji said.
The forum also alleged that the report had been prepared confidentially, without consulting the affected families.
“What kind of report was it? None of our members was consulted, and in fact the current deputy commissioner of Papum Pare is unaware of it,” said Teji.
“We are not against the development of an airport; indeed we want an airport. But it should not be at the cost of the genuine landowners,” he said.
The forum also questioned the manner in which the acquired land’s rate has been fixed. It claimed that the proposed site of the NDRF headquarters was acquired at the rate of Rs 1014 per square metre, whereas for the greenfield airport the rate has been notified at Rs 507 per sq mtr. It said the NDRF and the Power Grid Corporation of India paid compensation as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.
The forum demanded that a uniform yardstick be applied in fixing compensation and solatium. It said the land affected people had submitted a representation to the Papum Pare DC, demanding a revision of the land rate to bring it at par with the current market price escalation at the rate of Rs 1014 per sq mtr.
“If the NDRF and the power grid could pay compensation at this rate, why are we being deprived?” questioned Nabam Taring, a gaon burah of Hollongi village.