Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani Sunday said that the process of land acquisition for the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train would not delay the project in any way. He, however, said that acquiring 1,400 hectares of land for the project in both Maharashtra and Gujarat is a time consuming exercise but added that it would be done within the set deadline.
“Land acquisition in any project takes time. If the acquisition deadline was not December, it could have been an issue. However, we are confident of completing the process of land acquisition by then,” Lohani said addressing the press on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.
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. “Ultimately, the project is going to benefit the entire corridor along the bullet train. We will have to deal with issues and trouble faced in the construction of the project,” he added.
The bullet train project, costing Rs. 1.1 lakh crore, is to be built with a loan of Rs 88,000 crore from Japan. The project involves both Maharashtra and Gujarat governments and will operate between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Out of the total 508 km railway line, 108 km will pass through villages in Maharashtra.
Lohani also negated reports on Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) expressing concern about the project due to delay in acquiring land. The National High Speed Railway Corporation is yet to submit the detailed project report. The corporation, along with the state governments, has offered to develop the area and provide basic amenities to villagers including clean water and toilets.