Locals opposing Manipur airport expansion plan

Locals opposing Manipur airport expansion plan
Imphal, Oct 23 (PTI) The plan to expand the Tulihal-Imphal airport in Manipur has hit a road block with local residents ranged against attempts to forcibly acquire private land.

The owners of the land proposed to be acquired have formed a committee, Committee on Airport Expansion, and demanded that the government's plan to acquire land for the airport's expansion be first made public before any further action on the project.

The committee arranged an 'open dialogue' on the issue on October 17 in which prominent personalities of Manipur said that instead of going in for expansion, the existing facilities could be improved and more facilities added.

Some other people of the area have formed another committee - Joint Action Committee - which is against any expansion of the airport at all.

A spokesman of the committee said that during previous expansions in 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1991 the government had acquired cultivable lands, ponds and fishing farms displacing many people.

Official sources said the government had decided to acquire 690 acres of land to expand facilities in the airport including night landing.

They said a notification had been issued on August 23 for the acquisition of the land, but it was not acted upon because of opposition by the locals to acquisition of land.

The JAC spokesman said if the government went ahead with its plan, about 100 families would be affected.

Official sources said that the government would first try to relocate the families in nearby villages before going ahead with the project.

The decision to rehabilitate them was taken during a recent meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, the sources said.

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