Surat, June 18 (IANS) Strong protests have started emerging in Gujarat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of a bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, with farmers in Surat district taking to the streets opposing acquisition of land for the purpose.
More than 200 farmers from 15 villages drove down to the Surat District Collectorate in tractors and motorcycles against the notification to acquire their land for the project with as many as 14 objections. They submitted a detailed memorandum to the District Collector.
Farmer leader Jayesh Patel told reporters that around 140 hectares of land across 21 villages were being acquired for the project, which is being opposed by the farmers.
“The notification for land acquisition was issued without carrying out the mandatory environmental or social impact assessment,” he said, pointing out that there had been no consultation with the local bodies before bringing out the notification.
He went on: “Legally, the District Collector needs to declare the market rate of the land for which the acquisition notification is issued.” This had not been done so far.
The farmers, who gathered at the collectorate, said the government had already acquired enough land for the Delhi-Mumbai dedicated freight corridor.
Patel said even Western Railways have sufficient land to take the project forward. “There is no reason why our land is being acquired now,” he added.
Besides Surat, hundreds of farmers in another South Gujarat district of Valsad are also strongly opposing the land acquisition in their fertile mango and chikoo region.
Similarly, the National High Speed Rail Corp Ltd (NHRCL), the nodal body to implement the Bullet Train Project, is also facing resistance in Palghar in Maharashtra.
“We are in touch with our counterparts in Palghar and like them we too don’t want to part with our land,” Patel added.