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JICA Team to Meet Gujarat Farmers Affected by Bullet Train Project

JICA officials will visit Surat on 7 December to meet the farmers who have been protesting against land acquisition.

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India
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A team from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which has provided soft loan to the Indian government for the country's first bullet train project, will be on a two-day visit of Gujarat from Friday, 7 December, to meet farmers affected by the project.

Officials of the JICA, Japan's state-owned funding agency, will visit Surat on Friday to meet farmers, who have been protesting against land acquisition for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

The project-affected people, including farmers and land owners, had made representation to the JICA on September 18 this year, alleging that land acquisition for the project was being done “in complete and abject violation of the JICA guidelines and the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act, 2013,” seeking the agency’s intervention.
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“In response to it, a JICA team, comprising its Chief Representative Katsuo Matsumoto and other members, has agreed to meet the affected farmers and their representatives at Surat. JICA team will visit on December 7 and 8.”
Anand Yagnik, Lawyer

Representatives of the farmers' body, the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, which has led a protest against land acquisition, will also take part in the meeting, he said.

On Friday, the JICA team will pay a visit to some farm lands and their owners to take a stock of the situation, he said. "The next day, they will hold a meeting with the farmers and landowners of different villages and districts who are affected by the project," Yagnik, said.

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NHSRCL Acquires Land in Gujarat and Maharashtra

An NRI octogenarian from Germany handed over her ancestral land in Gujarat for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, making it the first stretch of land to be acquired by the national transporter in the state for the project.

Earlier, NHSRCL had managed to acquire only 0.09 percent of the land in Mumbai for the project and had been dealing with protests across the two states over land acquisition issues.

Savita Ben, who runs an Indian restaurant in Germany, is originally from Chansad village and she shifted abroad 33 years ago after getting married, a NHSRCL official told PTI. In Chansad, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) required 11.94 hectares of private land and Savita Ben sold hers for Rs 30,094.
“She flew down specially to hand over the land for the project and we are extremely grateful to her for having agreed to it. She returned to Germany where she lives with her son and runs a restaurant. This stretch of land is the first piece of land which we have acquired for the project in the state.”
Dhananjay Kumar, NHSRCL Spokesperson
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On 29 November, the NHSRCL bagged 0.29 hectare of private land in Paye village in Maharashtra's Thane district and gave a total compensation of Rs 3,32,76,468 to four plot holders.

"The sale deeds were signed and the amount was released today to the bank account within three hours of signing documents," NHSRCL Spokesperson Kumar.

The 508-kilometre corridor would require around 1,400 hectares of land in Gujarat and Maharashtra, of which 1,120 hectares is privately-owned. Around 6,000 land owners will have to be compensated.

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