The story was edited and corrected by Prof. P. Ramesh Kumar
Rohi Village in the Jewar District of Uttar Pradesh has been at the centre of a feud between the local villagers and Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) over the construction of the proposed international airport in Jewar.
Rohi village has been acquired by YEIDA completely and will be razed for Phase 1 of the new airport.
Compensations handed out by the Uttar Pradesh government total around Rs 3,000 crore, with pay-outs for individual families extending to Rs 8.4 crore for nearly 40 bighas or Rs 21 lakh/bigha.
This compensation process has been questioned by the villagers who either don’t have land or have different professions. These villagers would get less compensation than others in the village.
While some villagers are happy with the compensation, the rest are just saying a silent prayer.
Rohi- a village or a city?
Virendra Singh, 39, a farmer at Rohi village, claimed, “Ours has always been a rural area, and as directed by authorities we would have got four times the compensation but now the authorities giving us only two times the value, which means they are considering Rohi to be a city,” he said.
Virendra Singh was talking about clause 12 (A) of Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Area Act, 1976 which abolishes panchayat for an industrial area. According to the farmer, Rohi Village stands as a city in government files.
Singh added, “I don’t own land, I own a shop, which means I will not receive compensation while my neighbours benefit a lot after the compensation. While the authorities have not kept most of their promises, the only silver lining was direct bank transfer of the compensation.”
Legal hurdles to full compensation
Srinivas Shaheen echoed the words of Singh, “My daughter, who is entitled to get land after her education, turned 19 as on November 3, 2018, but her school documents show her age as 17. Therefore, she won’t get any land.”
A village elder, Thakur Chaman Singh, said that the government had promised employment to the youth and many would get jobs with Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) but no employment has been offered so far. He added that youth are now only buying big cars and big money has only brought more misery and crime as some in the village are richer than others.
Many villagers have filled up as many as four forms from different authorities to initiate the process of compensation.
Bhagwan Singh, the Village head, didn’t agree with a lot what his fellow villagers said.
He said, “For the last 24 years we knew that the airport was coming to Jewar. We were patient enough for 24 years. The compensation provided by the authorities will help us sustain till the time the airport comes up and then we would have a constant flow of money. It is just a matter of time.”
On the other hand, Jewar’s Sub-District Magistrate, Abhay Singh, said, “After the population count, Rohi had 125 farmers as of 2018 for whom we allocated Rs 10, 06, 31,212. The employment opportunities will only come when the airport’s construction begins and there will be more openings when the airport is operational.”
He confirmed that an electronic transfer of compensation money has been done for the land that was acquired till 6 May 2019.