COIMBATORE: The department in-charge of land acquisition for Coimbatore airport expansion has commenced survey of the land earmarked for the project yet again. The move comes after price fixation talks between the district administration and the land owners fell through. Now, the department will send the survey and price details to the commissioner of land administration in Chennai, which is expected to take over the negotiations with land owners.
The district revenue officer (DRO) incharge of land acquisition confirmed that they had commenced the land survey for the second time. “We have so far surveyed and sent details about eight blocks to Chennai,” said the DRO in-charge, Noor Mohammed. “The survey will encompass details such as the acreage of land; number of residential structures and residents; guideline price of the land; market rate at which land was last sold; and the price demanded by residents. After studying these details, officials in Chennai will fix the offer price. After this, we will proceed with the acquisition,” he said.
The land survey is going on at a brisk pace to commence the acquisition process without any further delay. “We have around 10 more blocks to survey. It will be completed soon and our target is to send all the reports to Chennai by February 15,” Mohammed said.
The land owners, however, said they had already obtained three stay orders against the acquisition and moved the court again against the state and central governments. “They have not followed some critical rules and guidelines mentioned in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013,” said Vijay Vikraman, a land owner from Chinniampalayam. “While not offering us the market price is one violation, they have not done an environmental impact assessment and also not properly intimated us about the valuation process,” Vikraman said.
He also alleged that the authorities hadn’t talked to them about providing alternate land. “Ours aren’t encroached or occupied land. We pay taxes for it. They even offer resettlement packages for people occupying water body banks,” Vikraman said, adding, “The feasibility study for the expansion was done more than a decade back.”
If the expansion plans go through, residents said, at least 20,000 trees would have to be felled. “The airport authorities say air traffic will go up four-fold if the airport were to be expanded, but the environmental impact of it on the residents has not been studied,” Vikraman said.
Around 627.89 acre of land was earmarked for airport expansion, of which 461.90 acre is owned by private land owners and 134.33 acre by the defence department. While the government quoted a compensation of 150% of the guideline value, land owners demanded for 300% of the guideline value. They claimed that 150% of the guideline value accounted for just a third of prevailing market price and they cannot buy an alternate property with the money.
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