Farmers in Maharashtra who are against the acquisition of their land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor, often referred to as the bullet train project, are now planning to approach the Japanese government, which is funding the construction through a long-term loan, The Tribune has reported.
According to the daily’s report, farmers from as many as 73 villages of Palghar, Vasai, Talasari, Dahanu, Wada and Shahapur, led by the All India Kisan Sabha of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), are likely to take the case to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the island nations infrastructure funding body.
Japan is financing the project through a Rs 88000 crore loan bearing an interest rate of just 0.1 per cent with a 15 year lock-in period, repayable in 50 years.
However, the project has been delayed due to troubles related to acquisition of land, mostly in Maharashtra. The earlier deadline for land acquisition, March 2019, has already been crossed. Having failed to convince some farmers to give up their land despite offering a handsome compensation and rehabilitation support, the Maharashtra government has now decided to take the land required for the project “forcefully”, Mumbai Mirror had reported on 2 June.
The land will be acquired under the provision of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition. The government, reports say, has offered to pay land owners four times the market price. But "activist” Shiva Kamble is not impressed. “The government is yet to announce a rehabilitation policy for the adivasis who are living in land earmarked for the project,” he told The Tribune.
Some farmers in Gujarat, protesting under the banner of the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, had managed to get JICA officials to visit them last year.
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