Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla, Oct 31

Farmers have opposed the State Government’s proposal to construct an international airport at Nagchala on the fertile agricultural land of Balh valley in Mandi district without taking their consent. After a stiff opposition of State Government by the villagers and farmers of Shimla and Gagal airstrip areas now farmers belonging to highly fertile ‘Balh Valley’ have started opposing the  proposal to construct international ‘Greenfield’ airport at Nagchala in Mandi district.

In a press statement issued Farmer Sangharsh Samiti president Joginder Walia and Secretary Nand Lal Verma here today opposed this anti farmers action of state government. They said that ignoring the hue and cry of local farmers over this project, a high level meeting was convened by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday at Shimla to discuss the possibility of greenfield airport at Nagchala in Mandi district.

Showing anguish over the alleged move of the Chief Minister, Joginder Walia said that proposed 2150 meter airports to land ATS-72 aircraft in Nagchala hills of Balh would require to expand the mega project up to 3150 meter to make it as per specification of an International airport.

As per the the OLS Survey, the Bandli hill of Sundernagar would be required to be razed by 500 meter to make the project possible. ” The low altitude project at the height of 900 meter from the sea level is likely to ruin or make as many as 10000 households land-less and  displace people from about 2000 bigha lands which is very fertile and is having high agriculture return and productivity. Mainly these people belong to Sinha, Tanwa, Jarlu, Kummi, Chatru, Daban and Dangrai villages. ” he said.

Raising a question mark over conceiving of this high cost project the ;Sangharsh Samiti; alleged that the airport was being planned without considering the location of proposed site as it is just 30 km away from ( aerial or crow distance) of Bhuntar airport in Kullu and 50 km each from Shimla airport and Gaggal airport of Kangra, where all of them are being proposed to be expanded.

They said that if the state government so keen to build up any international airport in the state, it should focus on the Jahu airport where the runway length could be increased to 3150 meter without raising and mining massive hills. ” Farmers said that if the airport would be built up at Jahu about 80 per cent or most of the acquired area would belong to Mandi district and rest would fall in Bilaspur and Hamirpur district. The Jahu area is just 20 km away from the Nerchowk. ”

They also proposed that Nandgarh , Dangseedhar and Movisari area of Mandi district are also suitable for such mega project to land the 72 seater aircraft without any possible risk.

This project would entirely vanish the fertile Balh valley from the map of Mandi district rendering thousands of people homeless and without employment or livelihood, they rued.

Terming the Jai Ram Thakur Government adamant for displacing the green valley of Balh they said that till date the government did not implement ‘Land Acquisition Act 2013’ and it it is bent upon to seize people’s extremely fertile, irrigated lands on the throwaway price of Rs 1.60 lakh per bigha.

It is worthwhile to mention here that Jai Ram Government which is focusing upon the development of airport in the state to develop  tourism and hospitality industry have also got sharp reaction from farmers and villagers living around Shimla and Gaggal airport


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