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Farmers Aim to Bring Bullet Train to Screeching Halt with Petition

The bone of contention for the farmers remains the dilution of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act by the Gujarat govt.

Updated
India
3 min read
A farmer keenly reads the prospectus of the meeting called Gujarat Khedut Samaj at Chaklashi Nadiad
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"They said I'll get compensation at 4 times the Jantri rate. As far as rehabilitation and resettlement is concerned they said I'll get the Panchayat Waste Land. But why would I want that, I want fertile land against the fertile land I'm losing," said Ashwin Patel, a farmer based in the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Patel is one of the many farmers who received a notice claiming his land is earmarked for acquisition for the much-hyped and now controversial bullet train project. He was speaking at the Khedut (Farmer) Sampark Abhiyaan at Nainpur Chokdi, in the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The meeting was called by the Farmer's Association of Gujarat (Gujarat Khedut Samaj) and led from the front by Gujarat High Court Lawyer, Anand Yagnik.

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Purpose of the Sampark Abhiyaan

Speaking to The Quint at Chaklashi Farmers meeting in Nadiad, Jayesh Patel, the president of the Gujarat Farmers Association (Gujarat Khedut Samaaj), said:

Our sampark yatra from Ahmedabad will continue for four straight days. It will conclude on Monday, 25 June, at Dungra Village at Vapi District near the Maharashtra border. We want to explain the details of the bullet train project to the farmers. We will take their point of view, their issues, and present it as an affidavit under oath before the Japanese government.
 Gujarat High Court Lawyer Anand Yagnik, Gujarat Rajya Sabha MP Ami Yagnik and Gujarat Khedut Samaj Leader Jayesh Patel
Gujarat High Court Lawyer Anand Yagnik, Gujarat Rajya Sabha MP Ami Yagnik and Gujarat Khedut Samaj Leader Jayesh Patel
(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)

He further added, "Today we are appraising people of the legal tangle caused by the project. Simultaneously, members of our organisation will visit each affected farmer and landowner across 192 villages and collect their signed affidavits. It will take at least a month's time."

Bullet Train Hits a Wall?

Farmers Chant slogans against Bullet Train Project at Nainpur Chokdi meeting in Ahmedabad
Farmers Chant slogans against Bullet Train Project at Nainpur Chokdi meeting in Ahmedabad
(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)

Anand Yagnik is also representing farmers from Surat against the bullet train project, and filed a petition in Gujarat High Court on Thursday, 21 June, against a preliminary notification issued by the state government for acquisition of land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project.

The petition claimed that the Collector has not followed the provisions prescribed under the Centre’s land acquisition law. The HC asked the state government to file its reply by Monday, 25 June.

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Dilution of Law

The bone of contention for the farmers remains the dilution of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act by the Gujarat government under the 2016 land acquisition act. In the amendment the clause for social impact assessment, environmental assessment, 70 percent consent of the land-losing farmer and several other clauses were bypassed by the government."

"Besides it’s a multi state project so the central govt should be the authority. What jurisdiction does the either of the state government have here?" asked Jayesh Patel.

Ashwin Patel sitting with Anand Yagnik during the Nainpur Meeting
Ashwin Patel sitting with Anand Yagnik during the Nainpur Meeting
(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)
Farmers listen to the meeting keenly at Nainpur Chowkdi
Farmers listen to the meeting keenly at Nainpur Chowkdi
(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)

Yagnik on the other hand is on a crusade to safeguard the rights for the farmers.

"The state government does away with rehabilitation and resettlement clause in its amendment. Now farmers of Gujarat will not be rehabilitated but the farmers of Maharashtra will. This is fatal discrimination. Is Gujarat not a part of India? Doesn't the Pradhan Sevak who is the PM of the country preach "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas". Is Gujarat now excluded from vikas (development)?”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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