The Indian Army’s planned aviation base in Northwest Bengal has been roadblocked by the state’s government over land value.
The Mamta Banerjee government jacked up the land prices by 15 times over the base value and has made the army get stuck in baseless land value negotiations with the government. This has also hampered the Army’s preparedness to take over China in the Chicken neck corridor. The negotiations that began almost five years back have adversely impacted the Army’s movement and presence to counter China, especially during the Doklam stand-off.
The Eastern Command of the Army was in talks to acquire a large piece of land to construct an aviation base which will be pivotal in deterrence and surveillance of the Chicken neck corridor which connects the Northeastern states with the rest of the country. The base would have also been a hub for the UAVs of the Army.
A source told a leading newspaper that the central government has allocated the land for Rs. 10.5 crore. He further added,
However, over the years the negotiators from the state government increased the price by nearly 15 times because of which the Army couldn’t acquire the land in Shaugaon till now.
Out of the 228 acres of land identified by the Army, only 97 acres are in its possession and the rest of the area required the help of the state government as the land belongs to an abandoned tea estate.
While the Army is stuck in futile land value negotiations, the IAF is planning to set-up a base for its C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Panagarh, close to the China border.