Bagalakote: The reported desire of Industries Minister and BJP MLA of Bilagi Assembly segment Murgesh Nirani to have an airport in Bagalakote District seemed to be facing a major hurdle at the beginning stage itself.
It is reported that Nirani wants to have an airport built at Halakurki village which is part of his constituency though the village falls in Badami Taluk being represented by the Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah.
The farmers of the village are now opposing any move to acquire their lands for the construction of the airport.
The resistance only got intense after the officials of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) visited to inspect land for airport works at Halakurki village.
Following this, the people of the village have written one more letter to the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai requesting him to prevent any land acquisition as they are opposed to the project.
According to sources at the District Administration, “A team of officials from KIADB visited Halakurki, which is 21 km away from Bagalakote City, and Bedar-Budihal village to inspect the land identified for the development of the airport in Bagalakote. The officials from the District Administration also accompanied the team of KIADB.”
The officials of KIADB visited the Halakurki village after Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries Murugesh Nirani reportedly sent a proposal for the development of an airport on about 2,000 acres of land near Halakurki village, claimed sources.
Enraged against Minister Nirani, the villagers, mainly people belonging to Schedule Caste (SC), have written a letter to CM Basavaraj Bommai opposing the land acquisition from Halakurki and Bedar-Budihal villages as the majority of the land belongs to Dalits.
In the letter, the villagers said that most of the fertile land being identified for the airport and industrial area development belongs to the SC community. All the landholders are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood as the farmers get at least two good yields every fiscal year.
“We do not have any land for survival. We appeal to CM to intervene and give a stay order for the land acquisition process. The government should not acquire land without the permission of its owners,” appealed villagers.
Shankrappa B. Pujar, an Advocate and resident of Halakurki village, pointed out, “There is a norm in the government that it has to give some land for the SC/ST people that do not own land for agriculture activities. In the name of development, if the government forcefully acquires land of SC/ST then we will be left with no option to oppose it and take up a legal battle.”
It may be noted that two weeks ago, the villagers had written their first letter to the Chief Minister opposing the airport project in Halakurki and Bedar-Budihal village. However, the villagers have not received any reply from the government. They have also submitted a memorandum to the District Administration.