New Delhi: The central government is eyeing to roll out country’s first bullet train by August 2022. This is advancing the deadline which was fixed in 2023. In order to speed up work, National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has already floated the first tender for the Bullet Train project.
Central government is still facing resistance from locals for land acquisition in Maharashtra and Gujarat. As per the details the first tender is for constructing a bridge in Navsari district of Gujarat. NHSRCL officials are also engaged with residents to amicably resolve the land acquisition issue. This first bridge is part of the 60 bridges planned on the 508-km high-speed corridor.
NHSRCL is optimistic that the land acquisition issue is closer to being resolved. They feel that there is a gradual end to the stalemate over the issue. The first ray of hope is coming from Palghar in Maharashtra. It is here that the NHSRCL officials have been facing resistance from farmers with support from Shiv Sena and MNS.
It was an advertorial in Saamana magazine – a Sena mouthpiece that highlighted that benefits of the bullet train as well as compensation packages offered. The write hinted for a possible breakthrough in the long deadlock between the residents and authorities.
In a innovative move, NHSRCL decided to rope in women from the 73 villages where land has been identified for the project. These women are trained to interact and counsel villagers on compensation packages offered by the officials. They are also an important link between the villagers and NHRSCL engineers.
A 15-member women team from different blocks has been set up to give details on the compensation packages being offered and the exact land prerequisite.
NHSRCL spokesman, Dhananjay Kumar shared that they have been able to establish dialogue with all the concerned people in the villages. This is to ensure there are no misunderstandings and also they know what the officials are offering in terms of compensation.
NHRSCL are happy that the method is working as they now get entry into villages where they were barred from entering.
On the other hand women are engaged in documentation task enlisting the needs of the villages with regards to NHSRCL project. These include taking care of medical facilities to constructing a boundary wall around water bodies that act as a source of irrigation for multiple villages.
Out of the 1,400 hectares of land, NHSRCL has only acquired 0.9 hectares of land. The officials feel they will be able to stick to the timeline as they expect to begin civil works by December 2018-January 2019. In Palghar, the project require around 300 hectares of land. The total land acquisition cost has been set at approximately Rs 10,000 crore.
NHSRCL has decided to disclose the compensation matrix to all land owners and offer time to them to come up with necessary corrections. The NHSRCL has also decided to offer a one-time compensation to agricultural workers as well as those who employmed in shops which are likely to be negatively impacted.