Arunachal Pradesh Fails to Ensure Transparency in Land Acquisition for Airport

The “Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society” expressed serious concerns about the fact that the state government of Arunachal Pradesh in India has so far failed to ensure any transparency in the acquisition of the lands for the proposed Itanagar Greenfield Airport at Hollongi in Papumpare district of and the affected people have not been consulted at all.

In a statement issued on 6 October 2012 the organisation said, “On 13-14 September 2012, five Chakma inhabited villages have been demarcated as proposed airport site by the Magistrate/ Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) Balijan Circle under the direction from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. But neither the Government of Arunachal Pradesh nor the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has informed anything officially to the affected people regarding the acquisition of their lands. Nor any consultation has been done with the affected population. Media reports suggested that displaced people will be provided rehabilitation but Chakmas do not know where they will be resettled. Everything is being done so secretly, leaving the affected people totally baffled and worried.” – stated Mr Bodhisatta Chakma, President of “Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society” (PCWS).

The PCWS stated that the proposed airport site at Hollongi is a “Chakma settlement area” where Chakmas from then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, had been settled by the government of India with consultation with the then local administration during 1964-69. The proposed airport will totally uproot 237 families from five Chakma Blocks No. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10. Therefore, the airport would lead to mass displacement of already impoverished Chakmas.

“If the Chakmas lose their allotted lands, they stand to lose everything. In the absence of any other livelihood options as well as any government support, agriculture is the only means of survival for them. If they are displaced by the proposed airport, even if the Airports Authority of India were to give adequate compensation, the Chakmas will not be able to purchase any land outside their present settlement areas as they have no land rights outside their settlement areas.” – further stated Mr Chakma.

The “Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society” (PCWS) demanded that the state government of Arunachal Pradesh and the AAI should make the process of land acquisition transparent and in a just manner, should adequately consult the affected people in all stages and submit the Detailed Project Report (DPR) only after due consultation with the PCWS. The PCWS further demanded that in order to remove doubts and confusions, the authorities should bring total transparency by making public all documents DPR including the proposed packages of compensation and rehabilitation much prior to the actual acquisition of the lands.