Only 0.9 hectares of land in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) has been acquired till now. The project is facing opposition from villagers in Palghar and Dahanu who have staged protests in the past.
The bullet train project, planned after discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, is being built with a Rs 88,000-crore soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Representatives of several Opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, MNS, CPM and Shiv Sena, attended the meeting and extended support to the protest.
Land acquisition for Bullet train: The activists, in their letter addressed to JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka, have emphasised that their hopes are based on the fact that Japan is known for its conscientiousness.
The state government’s decision has evoked strong criticism from the farmers’ outfits which have threatened to launch a massive stir against acquisition of land.
Commencing his statewide tour for building the party’s organisation, Thackeray addressed a rally at Vasai in Palghar district. He also asked farmers to uproot rail tracks if they are forced to part with their land.
Speaking at a tourism festival, Japan Calling, here in Ahmedabad, Japanese Consul General at Mumbai, Ryoji Noda, said that India needs to immediately solve the land problem, and added that the bullet train project will only be operational by the end of 2023.
While the bullet train would have ten coaches consisting of one executive coach and nine general coaches by 2023, the total number of coaches would increase to 15 by 2033 to handle additional passenger traffic.
The logo for the bullet train was selected from a contest by a three-member screening committee headed by renowned painter and architect Satish Gujral, said a senior Railways official.
Anguished by the death of a 17-year-old junior college student after falling off the local train on September 20, Shreya Chavan said, “We decided to take up the issue then. If students are not able to travel to college by trains then what is the point of a bullet train.”
“I will not allow even a brick to be laid for the bullet train project. If he (PM) wants, let him take the entire project and construct it in Gujarat,” said Maharashtra Navirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with delaying the project, conceived by the erstwhile UPA government, for three-and-a-half years, thus making it “economically unviable”.
Shinzo Abe said, “We have just signed a joint statement which will serve as a milestone to open a new era for Japan-India relationship… based on that we will strongly promote Japan-India special strategic and global partnership to drive peace and prosperity for Indo-Pacific region and the whole world.”
The bullet train which will cover a distance of 508 kilometres long, will run between Sabarmati Railway Station and Bandra Kundra complex in Mumbai.
PM Abe’s visit is about acknowledging progress in India-Japan ties, thinking more boldly about the future