Bullet train project faces hurdles over acquisition of Goderj Group's land
10 July 2018
The trillion-rupee, Japanese-funded bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is likely to hit a hurdle with the authorities wanting to acquire 3.5 ha of land belonging to the Godrej Group in Mumbai.
The Business Standard reported that the Godrej Group has approached the Bombay High Court against the acquisition of its prime property in Vikhroli worth over Rs5 billion.
The newspaper reported a government official as saying that the group is seeking a change in project alignment to ensure that 3.5 ha of land owned by its infrastructure arm, Godrej Constructions is not on the project route.
The 500-plus-km-long project is already facing opposition from thousands of farmers along the route, whose land will be acquired. The authorities can acquire the land for public use under the Maharashtra Land Acquisition Act.
A 21-km-long route in Maharashtra will be underground, though half of the tunnel will be passing through a green belt, the Thane creek and marshy areas.
Based on the current alignment, of the total 508.17 km track between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, around 21 km will be underground in Maharashtra.
One of the entry points for the tunnel is to be from land owned by the Godrej group in Vikhroli in Mumbai. According to reports, officials from the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) and Kawasaki Geological Engineering, a Japanese firm, have started the initial work on the tunnel from the Bandra-Kurla Complex, where the terminal station will be based.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently urged Indian Railways to also consider the grievances raised by the public about the project. Political parties including the Shiv Sena (a key alliance of the BJP), the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, the Congress and the Left have joined hands with farmers opposing the roll-out of the project.
His office has also directed the NHSRCL to acquire all the land needed for the project by the end of this year, to start work by January 2019 and complete it in the first half of 2022.