Maharashtra halts land acquisition for Bullet Train

Maharashtra halts land acquisition for Bullet Train

Uddhav Thackeray. PTI file photo

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, January 29

The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has paused acquisition of farmers’ land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project, according to state government sources here.

Officials from the Palghar district on the outskirts of Mumbai, where opposition to land acquisition for the project has been severe, have stopped negotiating with villagers for the past several weeks.

“We are waiting for the outcome of a petition filed before the Supreme Court by farmers in Gujarat challenging land acquisition for the project,” a state government official said.

The Shiv Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, had opposed the Bullet Train even when it was part of the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in the state.

According to sources at the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is implementing the Bullet Train project, 353 hectares of land is required in Maharashtra. Most of it lies in Palghar district.

The earlier Devendra Fadnavis government had managed to acquire land parcels from 61 villages in three districts. The state government had then held that the land was being acquired with the consent of villagers. However, in Palghar district, residents refused to let surveyors map their land resulting in tension between them and the officials.

Meanwhile NHSRCL officials say work on the Bullet Train project is going on full swing. Tenders have been floated by the body to begin construction work on a 348-kilometre stretch of the track, according to them.

According to the original plan of the Narendra Modi government, the 508 km-long Bullet Train route was to become operational by the end of 2023 with a 50-km stretch between Surat and Billimoria in Gujarat becoming operational on August 15, 2022.

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