Shimla, March 12- Balh airport Socio-Economic study suggests alternative site : BKSS
The Balh Bacho Kisan Sangarsh Samiti said that SR Asia conducted the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Survey of proposed Balh international airport and suggested to shift the proposed site to an alternative area in order to save the high fertile land of the Balh valley.
In a press conference at Mandi by convener, BBKSS Joginder Walia said that the Jai Ram Thakur Government was repeatedly requested by the farmers to change the proposed site as they are not ready to handover their fertile Agriculture land for the project keeping the economic importance and fallout of displacement from their arable land.
Walia said that the Airport Authority of India also observed in a letter issued to the State government that the DPR of Mandi airport was submitted incomplete also directed the state to complete the same before March 31 this year.
He said that SEIAS conducted the Survey and suggested the government to change the proposed site to other places. The Survey stated that Airport would displace farmers who are earning Rs three to four lakh income from the fertile lands per annum.
Walia stated that earlier BBKSS was also stating the same thing while demanding to change the proposed site at Jahu which would save the high fertile Agriculture land of Balh valley. Walia claimed that SR Asia survey now revealed that no other place in the state is so fertile as like Balh valley, morover it is not fit for construction of Airport keeping Socio-Economic Impact of the proposed project here .
” The SEIAS Survey endorsed their demand, said BBKSS, that the new study also aggreed on many points, as it had made clear that hundred percent farmer would be displaced or affected by the Airport more over, are not happy with the offered circle rates promised to them by the last government.
He said that Farmers have demanded compensation of their land keeping the productivity of land beside they are expecting seeking similar fertile land in replacement, along with compensating their livilihood expected to be affected. ” he said.
Walia told media person that there are urging state government for past one year to reconsider the proposal replacing it to an alternative place. He pointed out, that if Goverment still would go ahead with it, it could pose natural diaster and increase the flood incidents in flood prone area of Balh .He added that if table top Airport would be constructed in the valley it would cause havoc of soil erosion and increase large numbers of flood incidents in the future.
Walia also drew the attention of Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government to implement the SEIAS report and change the proposed site from Balh to Jahu. They argued that recently notices were served by district administration Kangra to people living in the 15 km radius area of Gaggal Airport to not build any high rise buildings knwake of purposed plan of construction of International Airport at Dharmshala.
Walia added that if international airport would come up at Balh. People of Sundernagar and Mandi town would also have to face a similar embergo for construction activity as both places fall in 15 km radius from the Balh and it would serve no economic interests of local people if they could not build high rise hotel and development projects it is making life cumbersome.
Balh Airport was dream project of Former Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur Government however Farmer alleged that previous Glgoverment tried to divide them by stating that 60 percent farmer are ready to receive compensation on the basis of Circle rate which now exposed by the SEIAS stating that 100 percent farmers are not agreeing on compensation rate of circle value.
Currently Himachal Pradesh has three airports however, keeping hard terrain and hill topography no Airport is suitable for landing and take off of a big aircraft.
Noteworthy, that since 2012 no flight was operated on Shimla Airport which resumed operations recently before the assembly election. But the aircraft cannot not carry the same payload during take off from Shimla airport, reasoned to the table top design and smaller size of airstrip.