Tribals join MNS protest against Bullet Train in Maharashtra

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Palghar, (Maharashtra), May 9 (IANS) Two days after disrupting survey works for the upcoming Bullet Train project in Thane, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and local tribals on Wednesday carried out protests against the fortnight-long land survey initiated here on Wednesday, an activist said.

“The tribals here have to walk 20 kms daily for getting drinking water in summer. The situation is the same every year after February-March. Instead of providing development, employment and basic amenities like drinking water, the government is wasting away huge amount of money on unnecessary projects like the Bullet Train,” said MNS leader Kundan Sankhe.

He said a similar situation prevailed not only in Palghar, but also in adjoining state’s tribal regions from where the proposed Rs 108,000 crore Bullet Train route from Mumbai to Ahmedabad will pass.

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On Wednesday afternoon, when the MNS activists and tribals gathered for their agitation, the local police warned them of action in view of the election code of conduct enforced in the district ahead of the May 28 Lok Sabha bye-poll, Sankhe said, adding that they told police that they were “only highlighting the genuine problems facing the tribals here and protesting peacefully”.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd is carrying out the ground surveys on the entire route for India’s first – and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project – Bullet Train, coming up with Japanese collaboration and funding.

Earlier on Monday, the MNS workers had disrupted the Bullet Train work being carried out in adjoining Thane district, from where the 508 km long route will pass before terminating at Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

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These protests follow a similar agitation by the All Indian Kisan Sabha last week in Palghar, besides opposition to the mega-project by all major parties including MNS, Congress, Nationalist Congresss Party and ruling coalition constituent, the Shiv Sena.

–IANS

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