The members of Special Economic Zone Birodhi Prachar Manch gave a memorandum to the chief executive officer of Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL), Mr Subrata Paul, on 22 December opposing the establishment of the Aerotropolis at Andal.
In the memorandum, they stated that the land for the 3,500 acre project area, spread over 12 mouzas in Andal and Faridpur blocks, are being acquired forcibly and the project would lead to a loss of livelihood of around 18,000 farmers in the area.
Mr Parthasarathi Roy, a member of the SEZ-birodhi prachar manch, said considering low traffic volume at the Kolkata airport and the expansion of the airport that is underway, it is inconceivable that an airport at Andal, which is located hundreds of kilometer away from the city, would be economically viable.
He also said that the authorities have kept silent on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project. A number of studies by the European Commission have shown detrimental effect of the noise and the air pollution associated with airports on the health of the people in the surrounding areas.
“The project is detrimental to the lives and economical well being of the farmers and agricultural workers who are going to lose their source of livelihood and the compensation is not suitable enough to ensure their survival,” said Mr Jayanta Sinha, joint secretary of SEZ-birodhi prachar manch.
The local people have been protesting against the land acquisition and it was known that on 26 March, 2010, the police had lathicharged in a meeting of protesting villagers. When there is acute food crisis all over the world, it is irrational to destroy 3,500 acres of agricultural land in a fertile area like Bardhaman, he added.
They demanded that the company comes out with a detailed statement on the issues listed in the memorandum and start a discussion with the affected farmers immediately to address their grievances.