Rajahmundry: Expansion of the Rajahmundry airport has failed to take off since long, as the authorities are unable to acquire the land due to the demand for high compensation from farmers.
The expansion of the airport was proposed way back in 2007 itself to facilitate landing of big aircrafts and to give more choice of airlines to air passengers and also to enjoy the benefit of competitive air fare.
The Airport Authority of India has asked the state government to acquire nearly 857 acres of land to expand the runway to 3,165 metres length from the present 1,700 metres. As the state government wants to acquire farm lands located in Madhurapudi and Burugupudi villages of Korukonda mandal, the farmers are demanding high compensation.
They maintain that as their lands are highly fertile and they are cultivating commercial crops like mango, cashewnut, oil palm plantations, they cannot afford to part with their lands for a pittance. The farmers are demanding relief worth over Rs 2 crores per an acre of land for those located facing the road, while for the lands located inside, they want compensation ranging from upto one crore.
According to a rough estimate from the perspective of the farmers, more than 450 acres land is located inside and the farmers are expecting compensation in lakhs while the land located near the road is over 150 acres where the farmers are demanding one crore while for about 85 acres land facing the main road, the farmers are demanding over Rs two crores as compensation.
The state government earlier intended to pay Rs 31 lakhs per acre to the lands located inside and Rs 46 lakhs per acre to the ones facing the road. A large number of farmers owning land in the above mentioned two villages arrived at the sub collector’s office on Friday and submitted a representation seeking better compensation.
T.K. Visweswara Reddy who has four acres land facing the road at Madhurapudi village said, “Unless I am given compensation worth Rs two crore per acre, I will not give away my land to the state government.”
The amount offered is very little. Other farmers owning land in the same area agree with me.”
Rajahmundry MP M. Murali Mohan said, “It is a public utility project. Unless the farmers co-operate, we cannot expand the airport. It is unwise to demand higher compensation as the government is creating a facility for the benefit of the people. As the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is meeting PM Modi on August 25, we are expecting major financial assistance from the Centreto take up several projects in the state.”