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Karnal airstrip expansion hangs in balance

July 20, 2018 05:38 AM


Neeraj Mohan
Karnal airstrip expansion hangs in balance

KARNAL:The proposed expansion of Karnal airstrip is hanging in balance as farmers are not willing to offer their land required for the project, alleging lack of transparency in the government’s acquisition policy.

Since the government increased the area of notified land from 28 acres to 280 acres in May this year, the farmers allege foul play and want clarification on three issues — the purpose of land acquisition, what would be the price and how many acres of land is actually required.

“As of now, there is no proposal to set up a domestic airport in Karnal and the successive governments have been misleading people. The government just needs about 28 acres to expand the present runway from 3,050 ft to 5,000 ft for landing of light transport aircraft of VIPs,” said Inderjit Singh, a farmer of Kulwehri village, whose 31 acres of land came under the notified area for the project, including 16 acres in 28 acres earlier required for the project.

Suspecting the government intentions , he said, “Though the government has failed to persuade the farmers to get the required 28 acres near the airstrip, it has increased the notified area to 280 acres in February this year, without giving any reason.”

As per the current policy, if the government gets offer of land from 70% farmers, it would have the right to acquire the remaining 30% land, which is actually required and it will not acquire the entire 280 acres, he added.

Another farmer Subhash Khokhar, whose 20 acres are under the notified area, also raised questions over intentions and the land acquisition policy of the state government.

“This is the first land acquisition policy we have seen that does not mention the price of land. But once a farmer offers the land, the government has all powers to decide the price,” he added. He said all farmers would be ready to offer their land but the government will have to announce the price first.

As per the officials in the revenue department, only 162 acres of land was offered by 120 farmers on Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation’s portal e-bhoomi till the last date, June 30. Later, the government again extended the date for the farmers to offer their land to September 30.

When contacted, Karnal DC Aditya Dahiya said, “Earlier, the district administration had floated the demand for 28 acres and 4 kanal of land adjoining the airstrip, but so far only few farmers have applied.

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