Bullet train land acquisition 45 pc complete: NHSRCL

Bullet train land acquisition 45 pc complete: NHSRCL

Claiming that civil work for the ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet train project would kick start by March-April 2020, the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) on Thursday claimed that it has acquired 45% land required for the project.

So far, according to Managing Director NHSRCL Achal Khare, 622 hectares of land has been acquired, out of which 360 hectare is in Gujarat.

He said that a total of 1,380 hectares of land is to be acquired for the project.

The corporation will be spending Rs 17,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation for the affected parties including farmers.

Khare told reporters in Ahmedabad that the corporation has paid Rs 1,800 crore for acquiring 360 hectares of land in Gujarat alone.

The land acquisition has been marred by controversies after a group of farmers, most of them from south Gujarat, moved high court challenging the land acquisition process.

Khare also said that the project would be functional by December 2023.

On August 30, officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding the project worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, had met advocate Anand Yagnik, who is representing the farmers in the court and handed over a field report that revealed several flaws in the manner in which the government was acquiring land from farmers in Gujarat's Navsari and Surat districts and parts of Maharashtra.

In the report, JICA officials observed that due to acquisition, farmlands were being divided into two-three pieces that would make it difficult for farmers in irrigation and access their land.

The report stated that "No social impact assessment (SIA) was done-exercise done by ARCADIS (a consultancy firm) is fake and futile without consultation with PAPs (project affected persons). As per consultation, Gram Sabha Resolution is necessary for schedule-V areas for land acquisition. The gram sabhas have been coerced and compelled to agree to pass a resolution for acquisition."

It said that "PAPs were misled stating that survey for sea-level measurement of land is being undertaken. Notice of 2nd level consultation was issued without holding 1st level consultation."

JICA officials arrived at these finding after meeting 200 to 300 farmers gathered at Amodpore village in Navsari, about 30 km from Surat.

"The land is used for multiple crops and trees plantation which yield for many years. Compensation offered is only one time," the officials have noted in their report. The report reveals that notices and information shared with farmers were written in English rather in local language due to which farmers couldn't comprehend.