Nine-year compensation dispute drags on

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2003, 12:00am

Farmers in a village in the eastern province of Anhui are still waiting for compensation nine years after losing their land to an airport construction project ordered by the municipal government, state media reported. Meanwhile the airport, built in Fuyang, receives no flights and is all but closed.

The farmers were growing increasingly impatient, Xinhua said, quoting a 66-year-old farmer in Qianxinzhai village who said he sold his land because cadres promised 97,450 yuan (HK$91,600) per hectare in compensation. However, despite complaints he had received only 45,000 yuan per hectare.

A Fuyang State Land and Resources Bureau official said Fuyang built the airport on former farm land in 1993. He said the farmers were to be paid later.

'For lack of money, we did not pay enough to them at the time,' he said. 'However, we are paying them compensation step by step.'

The 200-hectare airport is not currently in operation. 'There are no flight arrivals or departures,' an airport staff member said. 'The situation has been like this for quite a long time.'

One local resident said: 'No more than three planes land here in a year. It may be better to turn the airport into a chicken farm that can really make some money.'

Some of the displaced former farmers have become low-paid porters to feed themselves and their families.