Residents who may face forced eviction due to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project demonstrated outside the Construction and Planning Agency in Taipei yesterday as a committee met to review the project, urging it to exclude them from the project.
With the aim of creating an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as an expansion of the airport, the Aerotropolis project would require the expropriation of more than 3,000 hectares of private land, affecting more than 12,000 households.
“My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents’ time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house,” Chien Li-chiu (簡麗秋), in tears, told the crowd. “We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.”
Chien said that, although her family owns the land, she and her husband had to borrow money to build the house 20 years ago and have just finished paying the mortgage.
“An apartment in this area costs up to dozens of millions of NT dollars nowadays — how would we be able to get another place to live with compensation of a few million NT dollars after the government takes away our house?” Chien asked.
Another resident, Huang A-kuei (黃阿桂), also said that she had worked hard for 20 years to earn enough money to buy the house in which she lives.
“I put my lifetime savings into buying the house; I would defend it with my life if anyone tried to take it away from me,” she said.
Lu Li-chin (呂理欽), on the other hand, questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land in the area.
He said most of the land to be taken away is good quality farmland and it would be a pity if it was turned into industrial or commercial zones.
“Food and energy are the most important resources now, and there may be a World War III for food and energy,” Lu said. “In addition, farmland could provide another source of income for our children, so that they would not have to use social welfare resources when they are out of a job or retired.”
The villagers were permitted to speak at the beginning of the meeting, which continues today.
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