The proposed international airport in Jewar along the 165km Yamuna Expressway is expected to lead to the relocation of many villages, a canal, ancient temples, mosques and thousands of fully grown trees.
The Union civil aviation ministry on Saturday gave an in-principle approval for the site in Jewar. The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which has the mandate to acquire land for development, had in 2016 notified 3,000 hectares of agricultural land for the project. The land falls between Yamuna Expressway and river Yamuna. There are around 40 old villages in this area, farmers of which farmers own the 3,000 hectares identified for the project.
“In the first phase, we will acquire 1,000 hectares,” Dr Prabhat Kumar, chairman of YEIDA, said.
The obstacle limitation survey (OLS) conducted in June, before the site clearance, identified the issues — relocation of around 10 villages and other obstacles that are in the way of the runway — in the first phase of the project, for which 1,000 hectares are required.
Officials said that farmers’ cooperation for the project is crucial. “We trust that farmers will cooperate and help us with the land acquisition. Farmers’ support will empower us to acquire 1,000 hectares in one year. We have demanded Rs2,000 crores from the UP government to start the acquisition. We will ensure that property brokers stay away from land acquisition and all benefits are directly transferred to the farmers,” said Kumar.
YEIDA officials will start meeting farmers on the issue of land acquisition after receiving funds. YEIDA will talk to farmers and then decide whether to acquire the land under the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 or by a direct transaction between the government and farmers.
The Centre will also invest Rs 20,000 crore in the first phase of the project, officials said.
“Two companies dealing in aviation sector — GMR and GVK — have expressed a keen interest in setting up the international airport in Jewar. Therefore, we believe that the project will be developed at a record speed. It took 20 years for the Mumbai (Navi) airport to be developed, but with the smooth land acquisition and farmers’ cooperation, we aim to get all necessary clearances, including environmental ones, by 2019 for the first phase,” said Kumar.