Prime Minister Modi’s attempt to claim credit for a new airport foiled by farmers

Protesting farmers foiled PM Modi’s last-minute attempt to lay the foundation stone of Jewar International Airport in Greater Noida before the model code of conduct came into force

Prime Minister Modi’s attempt to claim credit for a new airport foiled by farmers

NH Web Desk

Hours before the poll dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were announced by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi—who was on a ribbon cutting spree—could not lay the foundation stone of Jewar International Airport in Greater Noida on Saturday.

PM Modi has conducted at least 150 unveilings of projects or laid foundation stones between Republic Day and March 8. “Between February 26, the day of the Balakot airstrike, and March 8, the Prime Minister was at least at 23 events, either to kickstart projects or to announce the unveiling of utilities to the public,” a report published by The Telegraph, Narendra Modi's election season travel diary: 150 events in 42 day, on March 9 read.

A group of 200-odd farmers sitting on a protest for the last 170 days near Delhi, according to a report in The Economic Times, derailed Prime Minister’s proposed programme.

“Our ongoing protest at Kishorpur village in Jewar has entered its 170th day today. Many farmers gave consent to give up their land and later withdrew it. Nearly 250 farmers have joined in petitions before the Allahabad High Court and a decision is expected soon from the court. The PM came to Greater Noida but could not lay the foundation stone of the project due to our genuine fight for our due,” farmer Yogesh Sharma of Jewar Airport Sangharsh Samiti was quoted as saying.

Last year, the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority, Gautam Budh Nagar administration and Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh had held several meetings in all villages to seek farmers’ consent to acquire the land required for constructing the airport at Jewar, along the 165 km Yamuna Expressway.

The agitated farmers have reportedly been demanding for four times the circle rate as per Land Acquisition Act for rural land. However, the Yogi Government in Uttar Pradesh wants to pay around three times the circle rate, maintaining that the land is notified as urban.

“This was despite central government ministers, local MP Mahesh Sharma and the UP government earlier claiming that the project will be their showpiece for the 2019 polls and its construction would begin before the elections,” the report added.

Earlier, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, and launched various development projects on March 9.

At Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology, the Prime Minister flagged off the Noida City Centre – Noida Electronic City section of Metro through video link. He also laid the foundation stone of two 1320 MW Thermal Power Plants at Khurja in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar in Bihar. The Prime Minister inaugurated the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology. He unveiled a statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus and paid floral tributes. Later he also visited the Deendayal Museum in the Institute campus.

Addressing a gathering, Prime Minister Modi had said that the country’s biggest airport is being built in Jewar, in Uttar Pradesh. “Once completed, Jewar airport will not only bring ease of living but also will be economically beneficial to Uttar Pradesh.”

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