Wednesday, September 16, 2020

HP: Don’t Take Away Fertile Land for Airport, Villagers Write to PM Modi

The villagers of Balh tehsil in Himachal Pradeshs Mandi district wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 3, opposing the construction of an international airport.

They listed the enormous loss of fertile land which is bound to occur if construction activity begins on the land proposed for the airport. The government is set to acquire 3,500 bighas of land (nearly 700 acres across eight villages) for the airport; over 3,000 bighas is private land. Of this, 25 acres is forested, and is home to several species of birds.

The area has historically been fertile, initially cultivated by local peasants with absentee landlords; in 1966-67, the struggle of farmers culminated in land reforms that allowed tillers ownership rights. The farmers recall that in collaboration with the German government, agriculture implements were also manufactured in the area, starting from the 1970s. Scientific farming got an impetus, and farmers now cultivate vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes – this region is the second-largest tomato producer in the state after Solan district.
16/09/20 Rosamma Thomas/News Click
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