Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday told the state assembly that 1446 families from 14 villages would be affected by the expansion of Gaggal airport, for whose rehabilitation a suitable rehabilitation package would be provided and compensation would also be provided.
CM Sukhu was replying to questions raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members Vipin Singh Parmar, Pawan Kumar Kajal, Congress members Chaitanya Sharma and Sudhir Sharma during the Question Hour.
He said that the Gaggal airport in Kangra district is being expanded to accommodate larger aircraft and the techno-feasibility study has shown that it can be expanded by acquiring more area.
Out of the 14 villages proposed to be acquired for this purpose, people of 10 villages are ready to give their agricultural land for the airport.
The Chief Minister said that many people of the four villages, who are worried about ruining their economy and livelihood, should be consulted to address their concern.
He said, “The government does not want to displace any family and will come out with a rehabilitation plan for the affected families. No one will be rendered homeless by the construction of airports.”
BJP members said that the government should give a proper solution to the affected families and make changes in the airport expansion plan to reduce the displacement of the affected people.
Former Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that for the expansion of Gaggal airport, the government should compensate the market cost by a factor of two.
Vipin Parmar said that a provision of Rs 1500 crore was made for land acquisition during the Jairam Thakur government, out of which Rs 1000 crore was allocated for land acquisition in Mandi and Rs 500 crore for Gaggal airport.
BJP members said that the government should speed up the process of construction of the airport.
The Chief Minister said, “The state government wants both the airports to be constructed soon to accommodate larger aircraft.
Previous governments tried to expand airports in the state to promote air transport and tourism activities but unfortunately could not complete the major airport work in five years.
My government will try to complete all the necessary process for the expansion of the airport, for which the opposition members should also help the government.
He said that some people are demanding adequate compensation and others want land for their rehabilitation along with compensation.
Proper package will be given for the rehabilitation of the affected families before the construction of the airport.
The Chief Minister, replying to a supplementary question on the issue, asked the member whether he was interested in expanding the airport or not.
He said that the previous government had announced Rs 1000 crore for Mandi and Rs 500 crore for Gaggal airport but the money was yet to be released by the Center for land acquisition.
CM Sukhu said that the official process of acquisition of the airport was not done by the previous government, however, after coming to power recently, the Congress government not only completed the government work of land acquisition but also carried out the socio-economic impact assessment. He said that the Congress government got the SEIA of Green Field Mandi done.