Govt facing no stress in acquiring land for bullet train project: Piyush Goyal

“Environmental and social impact studies either have been completed or are near completion. I personally don’t see any stress in getting the land (for the project),” Piyush Goyal told reporters in Mumbai.

Even as protests continue against the high-profile bullet train project in parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the government is not facing any resistance on land acquisition and exuded confidence in getting the required land for the ambitious project.

“Environmental and social impact studies either have been completed or are near completion. I personally don’t see any stress in getting the land (for the project),” Goyal told reporters in Mumbai.

He said that ever since the government “increased the compensation to four times of market value” it has not faced any resistance in land acquisition, adding that in the case of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the compensation has been increased to five times, if it is through consent.

Addressing those who are protesting against land acquisition, he claimed that people in both Palghar and Surat, which are witnessing protests, will stand to benefit from the project. Goyal also said he held detailed discussions with the chief ministers of both the states to expedite the project.

The minister’s remark came on a day when the four-day-long Sampark Abhiyaan of Gujarat Khedut Samaj against land acquisition concluded in Navsari, Gujarat, after covering nearly 200 villages to be affected.

During the campaign, which has been backed by the Congress, hundreds of farmers attended the meetings and expressed their resolve against giving up the land for the project.

“We are taking consent of farmers and are noting down their issues on land acquisition. We will draft a referendum and send it to the Japan government as they are also a part of the project…The land acquisition procedures carried out by Maharashtra government are different than those followed by Gujarat government. The compensation given to the farmers of Gujarat is much lesser as compared to those in Maharashtra. We will make the Japan government aware of what is actually happening in Gujarat,” Jayesh Paal of the farmers’ outfit said.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is executing the project, plans to acquire 612 hectares in Gujarat, 7.5 hectares in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 246 hectares in Maharashtra.

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