Farmers Protest Change of Land Status for Jewar Airport, Demand Higher Compensation

Reported by

Nupur SonarLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

January 30, 2020

Location of Conflict

Jewar

,

Gautam Buddha Nagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Airport

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

20549

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

5000

ha

State

Uttar Pradesh

Sector

Infrastructure

At least 800 farmers affected by the upcoming Jewar airport in Gautam Buddh Nagar have been protesting against the loss of land, livelihood and inadequate compensation since 2017. Their main dissent is a government notification changing the status of the proposed site from rural to urban. This legally halves the compensation amount as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, under which compensation is two times the market rate for urban land and four times the market rate for rural land. The notification of the area from rural to urban, months before the acquisition started, is the greatest injustice to the farmers, Sunil Fauji, who is associated with the Kisan Ekta Sangh, told Land Conflict Watch. The airport will be spread across 5,000 hectares and will be built in four phases on a public-private partnership basis. In the first phase, 1,328 hectares from across eight villages is being acquired to build two runways and is expected to be completed by 2023. The airport aims to reduce the load on Delhis Indira Gandhi International Airport and with a proposed six to eight runways, will be Indias largest once it is fully operational. Although the airport has been in the pipeline since 2001, it did not get clearance due to a clause in the Civil Aviation Ministry guidelines for greenfield airports, which placed restrictions on building a civilian airport within 150 kilometres of an existing one. The NDA government relaxed this norm in 2016, and the project was cleared in 2017. According to media reports, two days after the government issued a notification for land acquisition on October 30, 2018, several farmers filed affidavits with the district magistrate revoking their consent. We were told by the tehsildar while signing the consent forms that we could revoke it at a later date. Section 11 has been invoked (laying down the procedure for issuing notification for land acquisition), but we still dont have any compensation or rehabilitation details on paper. We were misled when they needed our consent, said Tejpal Singh, a farmer, in an interview to News 18. In February 2019, several farmers filed a petition at the Allahabad High Court** **demanding four times the compensation. They alleged that the acquisition process violates the LARR Act and that they were not given copies of the Social Impact Assessment. They also alleged that the area earmarked for the project was rural farmland that was notified as an urban area in 2015 but that its circle rate was not revised as per the urban sectors. Their petition was rejected by the Allahabad High Court in April 2019, clearing the way for land acquisition. Protests against the project have continued despite the courts ruling. According to media reports, in September 2019, 47 farmers were arrested as they proceeded to lay seige to the Jewar toll plaza. Three more petitions were filed at the Allahabad High Court in May, October and November 2019 challenging the validity of the government notification that changed the nature of the land from rural to urban and seeking higher compensation. In December 2018, the government simply added eight villages from where land is being acquired to a 2015 notification changing the nature of 80 villages. When 93 per cent of the revenue sources in the area are from agriculture, how can the area be notified from rural to urban? These are violations of Article 243 Q of the Constitution (the Article lays down the procedure for declaring an area urban), said advocate Gautam Upadhyay in an interview to LCW. The petitions are currently being heard. According to media reports, even as the cases are in court, the district administration has issued notices to the farmers over their refusal to hand over land. They have also been asked to discontinue agriculture. Farmers have protested this and have urged all fellow farmers to continue farming. On January 27, 2020, protesting farmers clashed with the police when the latter tried to remove them from the protest site. The farmers pelted stones and shouted anti-government slogans. They also damaged the bus in which the police had arrived, in addition to a dozen other vehicles of the district administration.

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Both

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

29560

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

5000

ha

Starting Year

2017

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

District Administration, Uttar Pradesh Government, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Zurich Airport International AG

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

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