Skip to main content

57,000 "to be evicted" for Jewar airport-aerotropis off Delhi, 20 villages to be uprooted: UK advocacy group

The airport-cum-aerotropis site at Jewar
By Our Representative
The Government of India’s recent “in principle” clearance to the international airport at Jewar, off Delhi, 16 years after the idea was first floated, is one of the several aerotrpolis projects proposed across the world, which have been cited by a top campaign organization as points of concern for massive evictions, affecting environment and livelihood.
The international campaign body, Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM), based in UK, has taken strong exception to the to develop a Greenfield airport to be developed near Delhi, at Jewar, saying, the proposed site of the second international Delhi airport would turn into a full-scale arorotropis, covering 100 square kilometres, leading to the displacement of 57,000 people.
The case of Jewar was first discussed at the International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE) held in Venice on September 28-29, where the main focus was on tourism in order to mark the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Five eviction cases were examined, including the Jewar Airport.
To be rather a large airport, handling 30-50 million commuters per year through a total of four runways, covering an area of 3000 to 10,000 hectares (30-100 km20), the presentation at Venice by Swathi Seshadri said, the eviction issue has been brought to light by “agricultural labour unions and organisations”, but adding, so far no legal action has been taken in the matter.
“This airport will have a significant human impact. In the first phase, nine villages are proposed to be moved, which, according to the chairperson of the development authority in charge of the airport, would require the shifting of 3000 rural homes. The full project, however, would require the displacement of 20 villages”, the presentation said.
“The construction of this airport itself would be a large enough threat, considering the amount of people whose lives will be affected”, the presentation said, adding, “The airport is only one piece in the transformation of the entire region of ‘Greater Noida’ into a hyperurbanised conglomerate – partly an industrial belt, partly an extension of Delhi, and partly an aerotropolis.”
Aerotropolis projects are not new settlements for people. They are a new urban form enabling explosive growth in aviation dependent tourism and trade. They vary in scale and sectoral focus, but a catch-all definition is airport-centric urban development.
Clustered around an existing or new airport, commercial development is integrated with air services. Airport passengers are funnelled through shopping malls, hotels, entertainment complexes and cultural venues.
Manufacturing, assembly, logistics and warehousing facilities are linked with the airport’s cargo operations. A fully-fledged aerotropolis might also include office blocks, residential premises, recreational green space and agriculture. Spatial planning and surface transportation networks support the airport as the central node of the aerotropolis.
The proposed aerotropolis at Jewar, said the presentation at Venice, would mean accelerated acquisition of “vast tracts of land both in the land allotted for the airport and the surrounding land”, even as providing “much easier accessibility to the industrial belt for foreign investors” leading to quicker “pace of industrial development”.
GAAM cites a 2015 report, ‘Airports in India’, prepared by the Equitable Tourism Options (Equations), saying, in all construct 200 new airports have been proposed over the next two decades, when most of India’s established airports operate at a loss.
“Vast amounts of public expenditure on airport infrastructure would benefit only a small wealthy minority, in a country where 22 per cent of the population live below the poverty line”, GAAM insists.
“The Bhogapuram airport project has seen massive protests by farmers”, GAAM says, adding, “Airports in Sikkim and Aranmula have been stalled by community protests. There has also been vigorous opposition to privatization of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai airports. Chennai Airport is thought to have 2,000 acres of land which the private operator can lease for facilities like five-star hotels.”
Along with Jewar, says GAAM, major airports, proposed as aerotrpolis projects across the globe, include the one in Maldives, which has led to destruction of mangroves; in Indonesia, where displacement for New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA) in Kulon Progo continues; in South Korea, where the struggle, on Jeju island has been sustained for over two years; and in Barbuda, where in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, bulldozing of land for a new airport began without consulting residents.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.