Jewar Airport Land Acquisition: The Darker Side of Development

Jewar Airport Land Acquisition: The Darker Side of Development

The expansion of Jewar airport in Uttar Pradesh sparks discontent among farmers. Explore the heartrending tales of Ranhera village, where broken promises and inadequate compensation fuel a fervent call for justice. A poignant reminder of the human cost behind progress.
First Published: Jul 29,2023 11:10PM
by Saksham Agrawal
Jewar Airport | Farmers Protest

Produced below are the abridged version of the transcripts of the video story on – Jewar Airport Land Acquisition: The Darker Side of Development

Amidst the grand vision of progress and infrastructure development, lies a tale of sorrow and discontent in the region of Jewar, Uttar Pradesh. The much-anticipated phase 3 expansion of the Jewar airport, also known as the Noida International Airport, has brought with it a cloud of uncertainty and heartache for the farmers and villagers whose lands are being acquired to make way for this ambitious project. What was supposed to be a symbol of growth and modernisation has now become a battleground for the rights and livelihoods of the local residents.

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The Uttar Pradesh government’s notification of the phase 3 expansion has set the wheels in motion for the acquisition of an additional 2,053 hectares of land. The airport, envisioned as the pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to be an alternative to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. However, the dreams of prosperity and convenience for the masses have collided head-on with the reality of the farmers in the region.

Ranhera village, a quaint settlement in Jewar, stands as a poignant example of the darker side of development. Pritam Singh, a resident of Ranhera, reveals the heart-wrenching plight of his family. His father’s land, situated right at the runway of the upcoming airport, was taken away during the first phase of the airport. Now, as the second phase unfolds, their entire village is being forced to relocate. Yet, despite these sacrifices, they have not received adequate compensation from the government.

Pritam’s anguish is shared by many others in Ranhera village, including Brijpal, who feels betrayed by the arbitrary manner in which the government has executed the land acquisition. For the last decade, the government has conveniently neglected to increase the circle rate of the land, leaving the farmers in despair. When the notification for land acquisition finally arrived, they were shocked to learn that their village was suddenly deemed an industrial area, limiting their compensation to only half of what they rightfully deserve.

The farmers of Ranhera are not against development; they simply seek fairness and justice. They feel let down by the government’s broken promises and failure to prioritise the welfare of the local residents. Krishna Kumar Sharma, another resident of Ranhera, passionately expresses their grievances. The assurance of a compensation rate of 5,600 rupees per square metre was unceremoniously reduced to 3,100 rupees, leaving them shortchanged and disillusioned.

In their collective outcry, the villagers have threatened to boycott voting in the upcoming elections if their demands are not met. Their discontent echoes through the entire region as farmers and labourers unite under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, determined to be heard. They believe that the government must acknowledge their concerns and engage in meaningful dialogue to find a just resolution.

The government contends that the land acquisition process adheres to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2013. However, the villagers counter this claim, asserting that they have been let down and denied their rightful compensation. The discrepancy between the government’s assurances and the ground reality has sowed seeds of mistrust among the affected communities.

The controversy surrounding the Jewar airport land acquisition reflects the deeper complexities of development in India. The marginalised communities in the region find themselves further marginalised as their concerns are often disregarded in the pursuit of ambitious infrastructure projects. The villagers of Ranhera find themselves in a struggle for their rights and dignity, facing an uncertain future and a legal battle that seems far from over.

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The first phase of the airport project saw the government acquiring 1,365 hectares of land, followed by an additional 1,334 hectares in the second phase. The third phase, involving the acquisition of 2,053 hectares, has now become the epicentre of the villagers’ fight for justice and adequate compensation. The legal battle continues as they refuse to give up until they are rightfully rehabilitated.

In an attempt to present the government’s side of the story, Balram Singh, the Additional District Magistrate responsible for Land Acquisition in Gautam Buddh Nagar, defends the process, claiming that farmers are willingly giving their land in exchange for compensation. However, this assertion does little to quell the villagers’ grievances, as they argue that the compensation falls far short of what was promised.

The affected villagers of Ranhera find themselves caught in a precarious situation. They understand the need for progress and development, but not at the expense of their well-being and dignity. They demand a fair and transparent process that upholds their rights and compensates them justly for the loss of their lands and livelihoods.

As the controversy rages on, the Jewar airport land acquisition serves as a stark reminder of the darker side of development in India. It exposes the vulnerabilities of marginalised communities and highlights the urgent need for a more inclusive and empathetic approach to infrastructure projects. The pursuit of ambitious dreams should never come at the cost of trampling over the hopes and aspirations of the people it seeks to uplift.



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