Trinamool Congress leader Sushmita Dev on Wednesday alleged that the Assam government cleared large swathes of tea plantations on the pretext of the construction of an airport in the Cachar district.
Dev had written to Scindia on May 24, asking whether the civil aviation ministry had sanctioned any proposal to construct an international airport in Cachar. She had also asked him to state the timeline for completion of the project, if it had been sanctioned.
“Imagine ripping through the tea plantation and evicting those helpless workers in Dolu [tea estate] with 200 excavators,” Dev wrote on Twitter.
Responding to a letter from Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev in Dolukand, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in writing that no official proposal has been submitted so far for the construction of a greenfield airport in Silchar. His ministry and the airport authority had earlier made the same statement in response to an RTI query. The Barak Democratic Front demanded that Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy should resign for lying and hypocrisy in this regard.
The government has given in-principle clearance to 21 greenfield airports around the country, according to Amit Kumar Jha, the civil aviation ministry's chief public information officer. Cachar, on the other hand, was not one of them.
Even though the project had not been approved, Cachar district officials began the process of acquiring approximately 5,733 acres of land for the airport on May 12.
The administration had also deployed a considerable number of security personnel at the time, as well as enacted Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the region, which prohibits gatherings of five or more people.
On May 29, the state Cabinet resolved to give Rs 1 lakh to each of 1,263 tea garden workers' families as a "goodwill gesture" for their cooperation in the development of Silchar's greenfield airport.
The Doloo Tea Estate Save Coordination Committee has called for a protest on June 15 to protest the government's actions.
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