NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): The ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project was supposed to complete the acquisition of 1,380 hectares of land for the 508 km long project by December 2018. However, it couldn’t manage to acquire even a single hectare of land last year.
The deadline has been extended to December 2019 and the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the company overlooking the project in association with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has successfully managed to acquire 39 percent of the total 1,380 hectares of land.
In December 2018, a three-member team from JICA, headed by Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative of JICA India, visited the project-affected farmers in Gujarat to understand the various issues pertaining to land acquisition and compensation.
According to the letter sent by the NHSRCL to PSS, JICA had flagged two issues before the rail authority. JICA recommended that NHSRCL should not pay the project-affected farmers based on the 2011 Jantri Rates (ready-reckoner rates).
The NHSRCL added their response to JICA, stating that the Jantri Rates in Gujarat have been raised by 52.17 percent by adopting the method of indexation as per the Income Tax Department.
So far, 537 hectares of land have been acquired, which include 471 of 940 hectares in Gujarat and 66 of 431 hectares in Maharashtra. However, NHSRCL failed to acquire the nine hectares required in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
NHSRCL Spokesperson Sushma Gaur told IANS that the land will be taken over once the tenders for the project are finalized.
“Major chunk of the land acquisition is likely to be completed by December 2019. Two or three months back the total land acquired was 33 percent. And within 90 days we were able to acquire over 6 percent more land,” she said.
However, according to Krishnakant, most of the land which has been acquired belongs to the government.
“The farmers had filed litigation before the Gujarat High Court last year, challenging the whole land acquisition process. If the court favors the farmers, then the acquisition process will be restarted again. The land that has been already acquired won’t be affected though if the court rules in our favor,” he added.