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Japan Team Shocked To Know That Modi Govt Did Not Follow Due Procedure To Acquire Land For Bullet Train Project, Say Farmer Leaders

A three-member team met hundreds of farmers in Gujarat and discussed the legal issues related to land acquisition.

The representatives of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is providing a soft loan to India for the Rs 1.08 lakh-crore bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad were “shocked” to know that due procedure was not followed for acquiring land by the Modi government, according to farmer leaders and representatives.

The JICA representatives met hundreds of Gujarat farmers and villagers who were opposed to land acquisition for the project and discussed their grievances and legal issues on December 7-8 at Amadpore in Navsari district and Kathor village in Surat district. The farmer leaders explained the ground reality of the land acquisition process and highlighted how the Union and state governments are flouting the JICA guidelines.

The three-member team led by JICA’s chief representative Katsuo Matsumoto was also informed that several farmers have challenged the state government’s land acquisition process in the Gujarat High Court.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Khedut Samaj Gujarat president Jayesh Patel said, “We showed all the documents to the JICA officials, including the petitions and affidavits filed by the affected farmers in the High Court… We informed them that over 2,200 farmers in 192 villages spread across eight districts of Gujarat have been affected by the bullet train project.”

He added: “The Gujarat government did not listen to their issues and the declared compensation is so less that with that money they cannot purchase another agricultural land in nearby area for livelihood. We showed them pictures and newspaper cuttings of arrest of farmers by police, when the land acquisition officials turned to the fields for measuring land. They (JICA officials) were shocked to find that the government did not held talks with the affected farmers over land acquisition, and teams were sent directly to the fields for marking the land.”

According to Patel, the JICA officials claimed that the information that they had received from the Indian government regarding land acquisition was different. They were shocked to see the true picture and informed the farmers that they would apprise the top authorities of JICA about the issues of “farmers, in terms of compensation, social and economical impact, rehabilitation and resettlement and environmental issues”.

In September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September launched the bullet train project with great fanfare.

With inputs from PTI

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