Villages near proposed Navi Mumbai airport worst-hit

With Panvel taluka receiving 306 mm rain, its second highest single-day rainfall of the year, the villages — Kombadbhuje, Dungi and Pargaon — adjoining the Navi Mumbai International Airport have been flooded.

While Dungi and Pargaon are on the outskirts of the proposed airport, Kombadbhuje is one of the 10 villages acquired by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to construct the airport. Some of the project affected persons who have not vacated the village yet, owing to non-fulfilment of demands by the CIDCO, are affected. The villagers claim that the land filling for the airport work had led to filling of the storm water drains which has caused the flooding of their houses.

“Kombadbhuje never gets flooded to this level. The rain started by Tuesday night and by 3 a.m. on Wednesday, we had water level till window. Talathi office workers started pumping the water by around 8 a.m. but by evening, the water level remained same,” Bhushan Koli, a villager, said.

Mr. Koli alleged chocking of the drainage pipes due to the land filling work for the airport. “We are now surrounded by water from all four sides and suffer heavy losses due to the flooding,” Mr. Koli said.

Meanwhile, Dungi villagers who were termed as ‘non-eligible’ for compensation as per the criteria are still residing in the village and fighting for compensation with the CIDCO. Dungi village had started flooding in 2018 ever since the Ulwe river was diverted for the airport project. Dungi village was not part of the airport project and was not considered for compensation but due to the flooding, its villagers are now being rehabilitated.

“We are still awaiting a final decision from the CIDCO on the issue of eligibility. How long can we keep waiting in this village which is now highly flood-prone?” asked Adesh Baik from Dungi village.

Mr. Koli said their previous generation had given their lands in 1970s to the CIDCO and they are still awaiting their compensation as per the 12.5 % gaothan scheme. “We have not received our dues since 1970s and how can we now believe when this compensation would be done by the CIDCO?. Hence, we are not vacating the village till all our demands are met,” Mr. Koli said.

Panvel tehsildar Amit Sanap said, “Since the villages are at low-lying areas, there is heavy flooding. We have installed pumps to drain out the water and the work is in progress.”

Mr. Sanap refused to comment if the flooding has anything to do with the airport’s work.

The CIDCO could not be reached for a comment.

Nerul and Belapur in Navi Mumbai received the highest single-day rainfall of the year and have crossed 400 mm in the last 24 hours. The heavy rain led to flooding in many low-lying areas in Belapur.

“The revenue department has started with the panchnama of the flooded areas to understand the losses,” the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation PRO said.


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