Guwahati: The Central government has not received any a proposal for the construction of a greenfield airport in south Assam’s Silchar.

Civil Aviation Ministry has revealed this in an RTI application reply.

Interestingly, the Assam government had uprooted 30 lakh tea plants at Doloo tea eastete last month as part of the land acquisition for setting up the airport.

The Assam cabinet on May 29 decided that a payment of Rs 1 lakh as compensation would be provided to each of the 1,263 families of Doloo tea garden (a total of Rs 12.63 crore) as a goodwill gesture for their cooperation in the development work of Greenfield airport at Silchar.

Doloo Tea Garden Save Coordination Committee (DTGSCC) on Friday called a protest rally on June 15 against the “conspiracy to affect the livelihood of hundreds of tea garden workers”.

Chief Public Information Officer (Under Secretary) of the Civil Aviation Ministry Amit Kumar Jha following a query under the Right to Information Act categorically said that the ministry has not received any proposal for construction of a Green field airport at Silchar.

He said that the government has formulated a Green field Airports (GFA) Policy, 2008 which provides guidelines, procedure and conditions for establishment of new Green field Airports in the country.

“As per the policy, an airport developer, including the state government, willing to establish an airport is required to send a proposal to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in the prescribed format for a two-stage process — site clearance followed by in-principle approval,” the official said in his reply to the RTI queries.

The government has accorded in-principle approval for setting up of 21 Green field airports across the country, the May 31 reply said.

The contentious Greenfield airport in Cachar district’s Doloo tea estate found no mention in the list of 21 Greenfield airports that have received “in-principle” approval from the ministry.

On May 12, despite protests of hundreds of tea garden workers and local people, Cachar district administrations deployed several hundred security personnel and had pressed into service over a hundred bulldozers and excavators and uprooted around 30 lakh tea plants to acquire 2,600 bighas (around 1,550 acres) of land to build a proposed Greenfield airport in 5,733 acres of land. Before the district administration’s action, 144 Cr Pc had been imposed to prevent the possible gathering of people and protests.

As per reports, around 1,900 tea garden workers — including both regular and non-regular employees — work in the Doloo tea garden.

DTGSCC leaders Arindam Deb, Shanti Kumar Sinha, Hillol Bhattacharjee said that it is a big conspiracy that without sending a proposal to the Central government to set up the airport, the Cachar district administration had started land acquisition for an imaginary airport.

They claimed that the conspiracy against the tea garden workers might be to start a real estate business in the land of the tea garden.

The Congress, Trinamool Congress and the leaders of other parties also criticised the government’s move to “victimise the tea garden workers”.

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