Monday, September 03, 2018

Jewar Airport Project: Will Rohi Farmers Take Fancy to Govt’s ‘Development’ Promise?

Rohi: On the Yamuna Expressway, it doesn't take long for the multi-storied buildings to disappear over the horizon. Sixty minutes from the hyper-urban landscape of Noida, the zipping lanes of the highway bisect the Jewar Tehsil. A small road bifurcates off the highway and weaves through rolling fields and grazing cattle. Eucalyptus and sacred figs stand lined up on either side in ceremonious greeting. A narrow path turns left at a rusty Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana board, cuts through lush paddy fields and maize crops and leads to cobbled streets of Rohi village. Nestled comfortably in pastoral expanse, Rohi is about to take a call on its future in the coming days.

On Saturday, Thakur Dheerendra Singh, Member of Legislative Assembly from Jewar, met villagers in Rohi to convince them to part with their land for the proposed Jewar airport. If the farmers consent to the land acquisition process, about 615 hectares of land from Rohi and nearby Parohi village will go towards the 1,300 hectare-airport project. Rohi, along with a few other nearby villages, will cease to exist.

"I'm a farmer too. I'm not a businessman," Singh said in his address at the village meet. "First, you must decide if this airport will be made or not. If the airport doesn't get made, what will you demand from the government? If the airport doesn't happen, we will live in regret."

Singh promised development and employment in the region. He promised street lights, sewer lines, hospitals and schools. About 25 farmers signed the consent form within an hour of Singh's speech. Some are hopeful, some reluctant, and some are downright against parting with their land. Rohi is split. "We have to trust them. And if they break our trust, the farmer is dead," said Virendra Singh. "It's the first time the government has engaged with us in this manner."
04/09/18 Manas Mitul/