At A joint meeting of farmers from Gujarat and Maharashtra in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Sunday, a resolution to oppose land acquisition for three big-ticket projects of the Centre — Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train, Mumbai-Vadodara express highway and the dedicated freight corridor — was passed.
Several farmers’ outfits like Bhoomi Adhikgharan Andolan Samiti, Maharashtra Rajya Kisaan Sabha, Paryavaran Surakhsha Samiti and Jan Andolan Rashtriya Abhiyan took part in the meeting. From Gujarat, a delegation of farmers from Vadodara and Bharuch, led by Ekta Grameen Praja Vichhar Manch and Khedut Samaj Gujarat, attended the meet.
“While in Gujarat we are yet to bring farmers from across the state on one platform, farmers from across Maharashtra, who are affected by the projects, have resolved not to give their land under any circumstance. In the coming weeks, we will bring together farmers from across Gujarat and pass similar resolutions,” said Hasmukh Bhatt of Ekta Grameen Praja Vichhar Manch. A resolution was also passed at the meeting to launch a ‘jail bharo andolan’ against land acquisition on June 9.
Representatives of several Opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, MNS, CPM and Shiv Sena, attended the meeting and extended support to the protest.
Leaders of BJP’s estranged ally Shiv Sena said they would demand a discussion on the bullet train project in the monsoon session of the Assembly.
Calling for cancellation of the bullet train project — for which 1,400 hectares is to be acquired in Maharashtra and Gujarat — opposition leaders said “development has to be with a human face”.
The farmer leaders cited “unclear terms of land acquisition, lack of transparency on social impact and environmental impact assessment studies and the repayment schedule for the loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is providing the the Indian government a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore for the project.
Last month, the Japanese Consul General in Mumbai had said India must immediately clear the land acquisition hurdles for the bullet train project. Till date, the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited, which is executing the project, has acquired only 0.9 hectares in Bandra Kurla Complex, where the Mumbai station will be built.