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Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train: Farmers in Gujarat oppose land acquisition, approach HC

Around 1000 farmers from Gujarat whose lands will be acquired for ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train project have filed their affidavits in the Gujarat High Court, opposing land acquisition process started by the Gujarat government.

The farmers have raised their objections regarding the project, which is being implemented with financial support from Japan.

The farmers filed their affidavits before a Division Bench of Chief Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice V.M. Pancholi. The Bench is hearing five separate petitions which have been clubbed as they all challenge the land acquisition process for the country’s first high speed railway project.

Through their respective affidavits, the farmers have contended that besides them as land holders, the project will also affect thousands of others who may be cultivating the farms which are being acquired for ₹1.10 lakh crore project.

They have also contended 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 to implement the project.

According to the farmers, the Gujarat government has diluted the Land Acquisition Act 2013 after Japan entered into a contract in September 2015 with Indian government to build the country’s first high speed bullet train project between Mumbai in Maharashtra to Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

The dilution of the Act brings down compensation package to the affected farmers and that constitute a serious violations of the JICA guidelines.

Alleging unilateral approach of the Gujarat government, the farmers have contended that neither their consent was taken, nor any consultations were done with them while initiating the land acquisition process by the State authorities.

Meanwhile, the Centre has sought more time to file its reply. Anand Yagnik, a noted lawyer appearing for farmers, said the project affected farmers and that they will approach the Supreme Court because the Centre is not filing its reply to the petitions filed in the High Court and as a result, HC is unable to proceed in the petitions.

"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," Mr. Yagnik said.

It may be noted that for the project, around 1,400 hectares of land will be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares of which is privately owned. Around 6,000 land owners will have to be compensated.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 9:11:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mumbai-ahmedabad-bullet-train-farmers-in-gujarat-oppose-land-acquisition-approach-hc/article24981094.ece

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