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Vijayawada Airport (VGA) in Gannavaram, AP, India


Description:

Government of Andhra Pradesh realized the potential of Vijawada to be developed into a major international airport. Feasibility studies found that if the runway, which is 7,500 feet now, is expanded, large aircrafts can land. This will increase the operation of national and international long-distance flights from the airport. Accordingly, State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in 2007 for the expansion of Vijawada Airport at Gannavaram. For the initial expansion about 300 acres of land was proposed to be acquired [1].

However, the proposed expansion was not initiated because of land acquisition issues. Villagers are opposing the expansion plan since the beginning. They formed a committee ‘Committee against the expansion of the airport’ for gearing the protest movement. In May 2008, the committee members constitute the land losers staged Dharna (sit in protest) in front of the Tahsildar’s (Lower rank Revenue Officer) office.

They submit their demand to the Tahsildar’s seeking justice to the poor people residing in the villages adjoining the airport [4].

The issue got a boost in September 2014; when the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced in the State Assembly that the government will initiate the procedure to upgrade the airport into an international standard. The proposed expansion requires at least 498 acres. The airport is already about 500 acres. The district administration is planning to send proposals to government, to initiate land acquisition process from three villages near the airport. The land acquisition process would begin only after getting clearance from the government [2].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Vijayawada Airport (VGA) in Gannavaram, AP, India
Country:India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
Location of conflict:Village Gannavaram
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 commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Vijayawada Airport is located at the Gannavaram mandal of Andhra Pradesh. The airport is located about 18 Kms, North East from Vijayawada City. The airport has all modern facilities to operate national and international flights [1]. The existing runway measures about 8,000 feet. With the proposed expansion, the runway will be 10,000 feet for accommodating larger aircraft. Airport Authority of India allocated about Rs.170 crore for the project [3].

Project area:201
Level of Investment:27,951,331.88
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2007
Relevant government actors:Government of Andhra Pradesh, Airport Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:‘Committee Against the Expansion of the Airport’

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Occupation of buildings/public spaces

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:Farmers whose lands are located near Gannavaram airport are not against the land acquisition process. They demand that government should declare the details of compensation and rehabilitation packages. Also, people are not informed about the valuation government is going to fix for the land. Their major demand is the government announces compensation details before acquiring lands [5].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:According to the protesting organization, the airport authorities had already acquired 80 acres of land in 1989. The compensation of the acquired land at that time has not been paid. Beside this the previously acquired land has not been properly utilized. Instead of developing the land, authority is now planning for further acquisition. They are in strong opposition of such additional land acquisition. Beside this the new acquisition of land will close the connectivity to the villages. This will restrict the movements of residents living nearby villages [4].
The market value of proposed acquisition has not been fixed. The protestors raised the question about the valuation of their property, the authorities did not have complete answer but they assure that that market value would be fixed at an appropriate time according to guidelines of the ‘new Land Acquisition Act’. The farmers also under the dilemma that if the land is acquired under old land acquisition how the compensation will be paid under new land acquisition act. They demand that the government should announce the time frame for the compensation and rehabilitation packages and demand all process will be made clear and transparent to the public [5].

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Land Acquisition Act (Government of Andhra Pradesh)
http://apland.ap.nic.in/cclaweb/landaquisition.htm

Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013
http://indiacode.nic.in/acts-in-pdf/302013.pdf

[1] Gannavaram Airport project hits a roadblock
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gannavaram-airport-project-hits-a-roadblock/article4561743.ece

[2] Gannavaram airport to get boost
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gannavaram-airport-to-get-boost/article6380201.ece

[4] Gannavaram airport expansion opposed
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/gannavaram-airport-expansion-opposed/article1263508.ece

[5] Compensation details sought for airport expansion
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/compensation-details-sought-for-airport-expansion/article6395128.ece

Gannavaram airport expansion plans to get impetus
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gannavaram-airport-expansion-plans-to-get-impetus/article6342892.ece

Gannavaram airport to get boost
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gannavaram-airport-to-get-boost/article6380201.ece

Land acquisition for Gannavaram airport expansion turns critical
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/land-acquisition-for-gannavaram-airport-expansion-turns-critical/article5400800.ece

[3] Land acquisition for airport expansion to begin in a year
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/land-acquisition-for-airport-expansion-to-begin-in-a-year/article5324549.ece

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Gannavaram dalits protest airport expansion - Tv9 (in Telegu)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYnNN_SK-Ow

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019

Images

 

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/aai-chooses-vijayawada-varanasi-for-digiyatra-programme/article23319976.ece

Vijayawada airport.