NEW DELHI: Government has asked two years extension for the Bullet Train project, as it fails to acquire the land for the project on time due to strong opposition from farmers.
“The government has sought extension for two years. The matter of land acquisition remains unresolved so far. They are already holding dialogue with them (farmers),” an official of JICA told TNIE.
The 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train remains one of the most ambitious projects of the Modi Government, estimated at Rs.1.08 lakh crore.
Last year in September Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone and the government had set deadline of August 2022 for the project to become operational.
According to the plan, of the 508 km stretch, 468 km of the route will be elevated, 27 km will be in tunnels of which seven KM will be under sea and the remaining 13 km will be on the ground. However the portion of 108 km stretch was halted because of protest from farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
JICA, which is funding the project, said that it will review the project next month and is hopeful for the matter to be resolved.
“We are confident that the matter will be resolved but it will take some more time. The authorities are dealing with farmers very patiently. We do not think that they can upset the farmer with less than a year for election,” the official argued.
Apart from the farmers protest, the JICA is also miffed with the destruction of forest patch for the project, without adequate measures.
“We have earlier warned about the environmental clearance. We do not want any environmental or social trouble. Next month we will review and both the issues.
However, he said that the delay will have financial implication.
“If the project is delayed, there will be financial implications. It is difficult to put a number though. However we are with the government and are hopeful that the delay is resolved sooner,” the official added.