Bullet train plan stalls on land row

An estimated 312 villages in Gujarat and Maharashtra will have to give up land for the Rs. 1.08 lakh crore project. Additionally, 7,974 plots belonging to the forest department and railways will have to be acquired in the two States. Mr. Modi, at a meeting with the Maharashtra Chief Secretary on August 25, set a deadline of December 2018 for completing the land survey and acquisition. NHSRCL officials refused to comment on the report but hinted at the political interference the project faces at the local level. “It is a valid question to ask what is the interest of the people who are protesting, since their land is not at all affected. Why are these people opposing development and at whose instructions, even though we have tried all social outreach, including opening of a NHSRCL hospital. This too has been forced to shut down,” said NHSRCL spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar, refusing to comment on the letter from the Palghar Collector. Marking a milestone Ironing out issues over the Shikansen bullet train project will be on the agenda next week as Mr. Modi heads to Tokyo for the annual summit with his Japanese counterpart. Both leaders have followed the project closely and are expected to mark the “milestone” reached with the first tranche of funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency — about Rs. 5,500 crore — being transferred at the end of September, according to an official involved in planning the visit. This fund will be used mainly for the construction of bridges along the rail route. Asked about the land acquisition hurdles, the official said that while the Japanese government had seen the reports, it would leave it to the Indian side to sort out the issue. “Yes, land acquisition hurdles remain, but we trust that NHSRCL will resolve these issues at the earliest. As far as we know, the project is still on course and will not be further delayed by them,” the official told The Hindu . The high-speed train, with a capacity for 750 passengers, will travel at speeds between 320 km per hour and 350 kmph and is expected to reduce travel time between Ahmedabad and Mumbai to three-and-a-half hours or less from the current eight hours. The project is expected to be completed in seven years.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/t)p-national/bullet-train-plan-stalls-on-land-row/article25276361.ece

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