Mopa farmers demand adequate compensation

Farmers likely to be affected by the land acquisition for the construction of Mopa aiport have demanded that they be compensated adequately with same type of agricultural land as they have no other source of livelihood. Farmers from villages around the Mopa plateau submitted their objections to the special land acquisition officer ( SLAO), Mopa cell, M K Vasta, on Monday after the government initiated a fresh process to acquire land for the airport project recently."If the government wants our land, and if the acquisition is urgent, we also want equal compensation in kind, that is agricultural land," a farmer told TOI on Monday.

Mopa Vimantal Pidit Xetkari Samiti has strongly opposed the acquisition, alleging that the project is being pushed forcibly without even an environmental impact assessment ( EIA), to promote real estate instead of infrastructure.

The acquisition is illegal, unfeasible and only designed for large-scale speculation with Pernem taluka's land resources and will have disastrous consequences for the ecology of villages, which rely on more than 50 springs and streams flowing from the plateau, the Samiti alleged.

The government had initiated the land acquisition under Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act, and farmers had been asked to show with proof their interest in the land.

The acquisition process has been done without taking into account the order of the high court of Bombay at Panaji, the farmers alleged.

In its order a few months back, the court had ruled that the state government is competent to initiate the land acquisition proceedings, but directed the state government to hold hearings under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act within a period of 30 days to the petitioners. [TOI]