Japan to lend Rs 5k cr for India's bullet train project

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017 formally launched works on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail link, which is going to be the first of its kind in India and built with Shinkansen Bullet Train technology

Japan on Friday inked an agreement with India, pledging a soft loan of Rs 5,591 crore for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail-line, notwithstanding protests by farmers against the acquisition of land for the project.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) inked the agreement with the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India just 10 days after as many as 1,000 Gujarat farmers moved the high court, opposing acquisition of land for the proposed project to run bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The farmers, who moved the high court, also alleged that the Gujarat government's land acquisition process was not in keeping with the guidelines of the JICA itself.

C S Mohapatra, additional secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance, represented the Government of India to sign the loan agreement with the JICA. Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative of the JICA in New Delhi, signed the agreement on behalf of the agency assigned by the Japanese government to provide Official Development Assistance to India and other nations, according to an official press release issued by the government in New Delhi.

The loan agreement was signed just a day after the Gujarat government agreed to double the quantum of compensation for acquisition of agricultural land located in urban areas for the proposed bullet train project.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017 formally launched works on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail link, which is going to be the first of its kind in India and built with Shinkansen Bullet Train technology of Japan.

The proposed 508.17-km long high-speed train corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will pass through Maharashtra and Gujarat as well as the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Nearly 155.642 km of the proposed rail-line will be laid in Maharastra while 350.530 km will be in Gujarat and 2 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It shall start from Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai and will end near Sabarmati Railway Station in Ahmedabad. Altogether 12 stations would be built along the proposed high-speed corridor.

The construction of the high-speed rail link between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will require the acquisition of about 1400 hectares of land in Maharashtra and Gujarat and over 1120 hectares of the land to be acquired are owned privately, with many of the owners being farmers.

Some of the farmers in Gujarat are agitated over the prospects of losing their land and they alleged that the State Government was not going by the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

“The objective of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project is to develop mass and high frequent transportation system by constructing high-speed rail between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with the use of Japanese high-speed rail technologies, thereby improving the connectivity in India,” the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India said in a press release it issued after signing the loan agreement with the JICA.

Mohapatra and Matsumoto on Friday also signed another agreement with JICA pledging a separate soft loan of Rs 1619 crore for Kolkata East-West Metro Project in the capital of West Bengal.

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Japan to lend Rs 5k cr for India's bullet train project

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