Hollongi, the location chosen for the establishment of a greenfield airport at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, is set to displace an entire village, Chakma, for the proposed project. Holongi is situated in Lower Balijan Tehsil in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Prior to the Holongi site, the state government had chosen two sites—Imchi near Gumto and Poma— for the location of the airport and which were rejected due to various reasons. The two sites having been rejected, the state government selected Karsingsa, 25 km from Itanagar as a suitable place for the project. The then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil laid the foundation stone on February 20, 2007 for the project estimated to cost Rs650 crore, with assurance of full support from the Centre. But later in 2011, with the technical committee of Airports Authority of India rejecting the site and recommended Hollongi as suitable site for the project, the project faced a delay of more than four years. It also argued that there was limited scope for future expansion, poor safety environment and high cost of construction involved in the Karsinga location.
Now, in 2014, after being selected Hollongi as the suitable location for nearly three years, AAI faces hurdles like land acquisition as the projects would require an entire village for setting up the airport.
Meanwhile, the Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society has requested the state government to ensure accountability and transparency in the land acquisition process for the proposed airport at Hollongi. The PCWS however, alleged that no consultations were ever held with the affected villages and all process regarding land acquisition is shrouded in secrecy.
According to the president of PCWS, the villagers of Chakma mainly depend on agriculture for their survival. So, the Society requests the state government to interfere for a reasonable compensation from Airport Authority of India.
In addition to the PCWS, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union has also opposed stating that setting up the airport at Holongi as proposed would mean displacement for the chakmas as they are legally not allowed to buy, sell any property or land in Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the DC of Papumpare has been said to have prepared an estimated amount for 424 hectares of land, including four-lane approach road and compensation package for 156 affected Chakma families. But both, PCWS and AAPSU are keen in getting a reasonable compensation for the villagers whose land would be acquired for the construction of Holongi airport.