More than 10,000 representatives from as many as 27 villages from the areas affected due to the under-construction Navi Mumbai International Airport gathered at the Old Targhar Chowk near the construction site to protest against the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).
The protestors stopped the work of the upcoming greenfield airport for the entire day on Monday, January 24.
Why Are They Protesting?
The villagers claimed that CIDCO did not fulfil the promises which it made while acquiring the land for the project. They demanded that the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport be named after late socialist and PAP leader DB Patil instead of late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
What Happened Before Protest?
Last week, on January 13, a meeting was organised by the police to resolve the matter between CIDCO and All-Party Action Committee (APAC). After the talks failed, the villagers decided to stop the construction work at the site while putting pressure on the government to reconsider its decision.
The APAC representative has given a one-month ultimatum to the authorities to address their demand. Else, they would relaunch the agitation, in which more than one lakh villagers will hit the road.
Police's Take On Matter
The deputy commissioner of police, Shivraj Patil, said they arranged the meeting to resolve the matter amid the rising COVID-19 cases, but the villagers continued to protest. Free Press Journal quoted Patil saying, "The Covid protocols have been violated, and action will be taken against violators as per the law".
The construction site has been heavily deployed by the police considering a large number of protesting villagers. "We deputed over 1,200 police constables, 100 police sub-inspector, 30 senior police inspectors and police personnel from state reserve police force to handle any situation," said Patil.