Farmers detained for protesting against airport link road in Goa

More than 100 farmers were detained in the Pernem sub-district in North Goa on Friday for protesting against a government survey exercise ahead of acquisition of land for a road linkage project for the upcoming Mopa international airport.

The protesting farmers were detained by the police and taken to nearby police stations amid tension at the proposed road construction site.

“The farmers were opposing the survey being conducted for acquiring land for a 8 km-long link road between the National Highway and the upcoming airport. They have all been detained,” Bharat Bagkar, the member of a committee formed by the farmer community in Pernem, told reporters on Friday.

The detention followed a standoff between the farmers and a team of government land surveyors earlier on Friday, following which the police started cracking down on the protesters.

“Is there no other area that you can choose for development? Let other parts of Goa also see the benefits of ‘development’,” Bahkar said.

The proposed greenfield airport is being constructed on nearly 1 crore sq mt of land, most of it in and around the Mopa plateau in Pernem. Friday’s protest is linked to a proposed 8 km road spread across six lanes which connects the airport to a nearby National Highway.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that the Goa government is going out of the way to compensate the farmers whose lands are being acquired for the project.

“I have already met them twice and listened to their demands. I have told them that the government is committed to go out of the way to ensure compensation for them for their land,” Sawant told reporters late on Friday, after the protesters were detained.