Modi makes ‘farm outreach’ with Jewar airport project
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the Rs 30,000-crore Jewar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh today, he made a subtle outreach to the farmers too in the wake of protests over the three central farm laws. In his address at the airport ground-breaking ceremony in Greater Noida, he said the project would benefit all sections of society, including the farmers.
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the Rs 30,000-crore Jewar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh (UP) today, he made a subtle outreach to the farmers too in the wake of protests over the three central farm laws.
Last week, Modi announced to repeal the contentious laws and on November 24, the Union Cabinet approved his proposal. A bill will be tabled in the winter session of Parliament next week.
However, the agitating farmers have dug in their heels and refused to call off their protests, seeking urgent talks with the government and the fulfilment of other demands, including a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) template.
In his address at the airport ground-breaking ceremony in Greater Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar district, the Prime Minister said the project would benefit all sections of society, including the farmers. “The airport will boost exports of handicraft, industrial and agricultural produce, and help small farmers in the shipment of fruits, vegetables and fish, which are highly perishable commodities.”
The first phase of the Jewar project, which is estimated to handle 12.5 million passengers annually, is expected to be ready in 34 months or by 2024. Modi said the airport would play a major role in the development of the Indian aviation sector and spur progress in other sectors too.
He alleged the previous governments merely acquired the land of farmers and conducted token foundation ceremonies without any political will or a road map to complete the projects.
“Earlier, the agricultural land was taken but the projects got stuck indefinitely over land compensation issues, thus causing prolonged delays. However, we have acquired land with utmost transparency in the larger interest of farmers and the nation,” he noted, adding a provision to impose a penalty has been added if the developers fail to meet the project deadlines.
Meanwhile, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath also waxed eloquent on the farmers and landowners, who have provided land for the mega infra project. “I want to thank farmers who willingly gave their land for the airport project.”
He observed it was not merely an airport project, but will generate tens of thousands of new jobs and spur economic and commercial activities in the entire Western UP region. Earlier, the state government had allocated Rs 3,300 crore for the rehabilitation of families displaced due to the airport project.
On November 22, the agitating farmers’ union had organized a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Lucknow to press for their demands. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said the protest would continue unless the Centre accepted all the pending demands. He also alleged that the Modi government was conspiring to weaken the stir by dividing the farming community.