1000 farmers protest against Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project

 

For the project, around 1,400 hectares of land will be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares of which is privately owned.

New Delhi: As many as 1,000 farmers affected by the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train submitted affidavits in the Gujarat High Court Tuesday, voicing their opposition to the project.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi is hearing five petitions challenging the land acquisition process for the high speed rail project.Besides these petitioners, 1,000 farmers submitted separate affidavits in the high court to make a point that many more cultivators are affected by the Centre’s ambitious Rs. 1.10 lakh crore project and are opposed to it.

In the affidavit, the affected farmers from various districts of Gujarat, from where the bullet train route will pass, stated that they do not want acquisition of their land for the project. They also said that the existing land acquisition proceedings are contrary to guidelines of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that has provided soft loan to the Indian government for the project.

They told the court that neither their consent was taken, nor any consultations were done with them while initiating the land acquisition.Further, no social impact assessment for rehabilitationand resettlement was done, and farmers have been kept in the dark about proceedings.

The central government sought more time to file a reply during the hearing.Farmers’ lawyer Anand Yagnik told reporters that the high court is unable to hear the matter as the centre has been seeking time to submit their reply since the last five weeks.“These 1,000 affected farmers will be approaching the Supreme Court with a prayer to stay the project. We will mention the matter before the apex court Wednesday for an urgent hearing,” Yagnik said.

Under the project, around 1,400 hectares of land is to be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares of which is privately owned. Around 6,000 land owners will have to be compensated for their land plots. The bullet train will run at a speed of 320-350 kmph, and have 12 stations across its 500-km stretch between the two cities.

The bullet train project was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year. It was supposed to be inaugurated on August 15, 2022, to coincide with India’s 75th Independence Day.

 

However, reports last month indicated that the project was already running behind schedule due to several reasons and will only be operational by 2023. The recent resistance by farmers may further delay work, further extending the project’s deadline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compiled by Vidya Krithi