Villagers resist displacement for Purandar Airport, Pune, India

Landowners from seven villages have sustained resistance to loss of their homes and farmland for an airport in Purandar since the location of the project was announced. They have held many mass protests and refuse to cooperate with land acquisition.


In July 2018 that Maharashtra state government gave a major push to plans for a new airport in Purandar. The Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) was appointed as the special planning authority, bestowed with all the powers of a Planning Authority for land acquisition on the area notified for the airport. MADC declared 2,832 hectares of land as a notified area to be acquired for the project, an area spread across seven villages: Pargaon, Ekhatpur, Munjvadi, Kumbharvalan, Vanpuri, Udachiwadi and Khanvadi. With notification of the land area the boundary of the proposed airport was confirmed and a copy of the plan made available to the public [1].

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Basic Data
NameVillagers resist displacement for Purandar Airport, Pune, India
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe airport project is headed by Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) and the investment is estimated at US$2.1 billion. The airport is to be called Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport, named after the second ruler of the Maratha kingdom [22]. An airport with two parallel 2,400 metres length runways is planned [23]. In October 2016, when the airport at Purandar was announced, the land requirement was 2,400 hectares [5]. But by July 2018 the required land area had increased to 2,832 hectares [1].

In 2017 Dorsch Gruppe was commissioned to conduct a detailed Techno-Economic Feasibility Study to commence the work, project clearances and formulate the project on a PPP (Public Private Partnership) basis. Activities include: survey and investigations, development of an airport master layout plan, cost estimates, environmental and social impact analyses, assistance to the authority in obtaining clearances [24].

In August 2018 it was announced that Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) will construct a road to improve connectivity to the proposed airport, to Pargaon Memane, one of the villages where land will be acquired [25]. In November 2018 an article in the Hindustan Times reported that Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government was forming a consortium of at least three companies to drive investment in an airport city and had ‘taken steps to ensure proper planning in the areas around the airport’.[26]
Project Area (in hectares)2,832
Level of Investment (in USD)2,100,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationResidents of 7 villages, number not yet confirmed
Start Date21/09/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesMaharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) from India - MADC is the owner / investor and has been appointed as the special planning authority for the project
Dorsch Gruppe from Germany - Conducting a techno-economic feasibility study
Relevant government actorsPune District Administration

Maharashtra State Government

Airports Authority of India (AAI)

National Government of India

Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersVimantal Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Obstruction of land survey
Hundreds of landowners staged a ‘rasta roko’, blockading roads leading to their villages for four hours to protest against the airport project. Many cooked food while sitting in the roads, a symbolic action meaning that will be their situation if their land plots are taken away
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Noise pollution, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Other environmental related diseases
OtherIn April a 77-year old a farmer from Pargaon village committed suicide by consuming pesticide. His family attributed his death to “severe mental stress”[13]
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The airport is at the proposal stage but is being strongly pushed by the Maharashtra state government.
Sources and Materials

[2] Cochin model set to placate farmers as airport plan evolves, Pune Mirror, 21 September 2016
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[3] Pune: Villages up in arms against proposed airport at Purandar, Indian Express, 8 October 2016
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[7] Villagers uproot pillars set up by survey team, Times of India, 2 December 2016
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[12] Purandar farmers restart protest, may go to court, Times of India, 6 March 2017
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[15] Purandar airport faces hurdle of land acquisition as villagers plan to escalate protest, Hindustan Times, 29 January 2018
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[16] 2,000 villagers hold protest meet, Sakal Times, 5 February 2018
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[20] Villagers block roads for four hours to protest against Purandar airport, 7 August 2018
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[10] From scattered to organised, Purandar protest takes shape, Times of India, 7 December 2016
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[1] Purandar airport: Maharashtra notifies 2,832-hectare land, Indian Express, 18 July 2018
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[4] Iravatee Majgaonkar and Vidya Athreya, The Wolf and the Sheep: Concerns about the Proposed Purandar Airport in Pune, Conservation India, 23 August 2017
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[5] Rumblings with in goverment over proposed site at Purandar, Times of India, 13 October 2016
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[6] Black ‘Gudi’, meet mark Diwali in Purandar villages, Times of India, 31 October 2018
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[8] Purandar on a boil: Airport land survey begins amid farmers’ protests, 1,300 detained, Indian Express, 11 November 2016
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[9] Villagers seek legal tips from retired high court judge, Times of India, 16 November 2016
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[11] Green experts cry wolf, but state still on airport prowl, Pune Mirror, 14 September 2016
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[13] Purandar farmer kills self, kin blame stress, Times of India, 10 April 2017
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[14] Landowners to seek President permission to end lives, Times of India, 30 January 2018
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[17] Villagers protest outside District Collectorate, Sakal Times, 14 February 2018
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[18] Agitators to deny entry to government officials in Purandar villages, Times of India, 17 May 2018
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[19] Women of 7 villages unite to prevent land acquisition, Times of India, 29 July 2018
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[21] पुरंदर विमानतळाच्या विरोधात चक्काजाम,, 7 August 2018
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[22] New Pune International Airport, Centre for Aviation (CAPA), May 2018
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[23] Purandar airport takes off after Centre’s all-clear, Hinudstan Times, 24 April 2018
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[24] Pune: Feasibility Study for “Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport”, Purandar, India, Dorsch Gruppe
[click to view]

[25] PMRDA construct road to Purandar airport site, Times of to India, 1 August 2018
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[26] Government consortium to raise finance for Puandar’s ‘Airport City’, says Devendra Fadnavis at an event in Pune, Hindustan Times, 17 November 2018
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Media Links

On 10th November 2016 hundreds of farmers from several villages resisting displacement for Purandar Airport blocked a land survey
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Farmers strike against government over land acquisition for Purandar Airport, May 2017
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Farmers hold black flag protest against Purandar Airport, November 2016
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Villagers hold a 'chakkajam' road block against land acquisition for Purandar Airport, they block the road with bullock carts and cook by the roadside, August 2018
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Villagers protest against loss of their farmland for Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport (Purandar), February 2018
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Other Documents

Villagers oppose Purandar Airport About 2,500 villagers attended a special panchayat meeting which decided to resist Purdandar airport project, 6th October 2016. Source:
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Farmers resist land acquisition for the airport As many as 1,300 farmers were detained by police when they attempted to block a land survey for Purandar Airport, November 2016, Source: Indian Express
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Road block protest against land acquisition Farmers hold ‘chakkajam’ road block against Purandar Airport, block the road with bullock carts and cook along the roadside, August 2018, Source:
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Farmers refuse to part with their land Residents of Rajewadi, Pargaon, Vaghapur, Khanwadi, Ekhatpur and Mujwadi villages strongly object to giving up farmland for Purandar airport, the project was announced by the state government in October 2016. Source: Times of India
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Resisting ground survey for the airport October 2016, More than 5,000 farmers from seven villages protested outside the district collectorate, refuse to allow acces to their villages for ground survey. Source: Times of India
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Protest against losing land, February 2018 Thousands of farmers from seven villages - Pargaon, Khanwadi, Ekhatpur, Kumbharvalan, Vanpuri and Udachiwadi, hold massive protest against losing their land for proposed Purandar airport, Source: Hindustan Times
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update28/11/2018