The ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which will connect the two cities with a high-speed rail line network, has met many hurdles. On April 8, 2018, farmers and activists in Gujarat and Maharashtra held a joint meeting in Surat to oppose the project, which is being implemented by National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL).
According to Jayesh Patel, president of Khedut Samaj (Gujarat), a farmers representative body, 192 villages in Gujarat and around 120 villages in Maharashtra will be affected by the bullet train project. The villages in which the land is to be acquired for the project include Telod, Ochhan, Mesrad, Mangrol, Kambola, Bodka, Handod, Khanda, Manpur, Pingalwada, Untiya, Medhad, Itola, Dasrath, Ajod, Padamla and Sankarda. Farmers in these villages are afraid of losing their livelihoods and not getting fair rates of compensation as the land acquisition laws in Gujarat were changed in 2016.
Members of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, an environmental committee based in Uttarakhand, as well as Khedut Samaj submitted a joint memorandum to district collectors of the affected districts as well as the chairman of the NHSRCL, seeking cancellation of such sudden meetings and demanding a fresh consultation with the stakeholders.
In December 2018, a three-member team led by Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), which will provide the units for the bullet train, met environmental activists and farmers in Surat, Navsari, Valsad and Bharuch whose lands will have to be acquired for the project. Matsumoto reportedly told the farmers and activists that he would present the issues of the farmers, in terms of compensation, social and economic impact, rehabilitation and resettlement and environmental concerns, before the top authorities of the JICA. In February 2019, farmers from 29 villages in Navsari held a protest rally against the bullet train project.
On September 19, 2019, the Gujarat High Court dismissed 120 petitions by farmers who had challenged the land acquisition process for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, upholding the validity of the land acquisition law amended by the Gujarat government in 2016. An appeal has been filed and is pending before the Supreme Court of India against the decision of the High Court as per the order issued by the SC issuing notice to the State of Gujarat on 2 March, 2020.
The ambitious project is a joint venture between India and Japan and is expected to now become fully operational only by October 2028 from the earlier tentative date of December 2023 due to delays arising out of Covid-19. Although, on the required land for the project, the Chairman of the Railway Board was quoted on the 5 September, 2020 saying that the "Land Acquisition for the project is 80% complete".
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Refusal to give up land for the project, Complaint against procedural violations
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, Government of Gujarat
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Arcadis India Pvt. Ltd, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat Khedut Samaj, National Alliance of People's Movement, Ekta Gramin Praja Vichar Manch, Adivasi Ekta Parishad
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Name(s) of Court(s)
High Court of Gujarat, Supreme Court of India
Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No(s). 46373/2019; Special Civil Application C/SCA/9864/2018
Nature of Protest
Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media), Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Protests/marches
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?