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Blog Entry# 3560914
Posted: Jun 22 2018 (13:49)

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Jun 22 2018 (13:49)   Bullet train project lands in legal trouble

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Entry# 3560914   News Entry# 342405         Tags   Past Edits
AHMEDABAD: The land acquisition process for the ambitious bullet train project is currently facing its first legal hurdle, with farmers from Surat district approaching the Gujarat high court on Thursday.
After the state government issued a notification to acquire land for the high-speed rail project, the landowners, who are likely to be affected by the acquisition process, have questioned the validity of the notification. The petitioners contended that the notification issued by Gujarat government should be quashed and the Centre should be asked to start the process afresh. A bench headed by the chief justice has asked the state government to show whether it is the competent authority to acquire land for the bullet train project.
Appearing
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for the petitioners, advocate Anand Yagnik submitted that the 508-km Ahmedabad to Mumbai bullet train project is being implemented by a central agency – National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL). The land is being acquired in two different states. The Gujarat government has issued notification for land acquisition, though the implementing agency is the central government.
Terming the project as “vanity”, the petitioners have questioned the state government’s power to acquire land for the Centre’s project in absence of any delegation of powers from the central government.
Another aspect of the notification that has been challenged is the alleged bypassing of the land acquisition process in the 2013 amended laws, in which the consent of the project affected people is required to be obtained through a properly laid down procedure. If the Centre is the implementing authority, the government has to undertake social impact assessment and offer a rehabilitation and resettlement project before initiating the land acquisition. The provisions of the land acquisition laws of 2013 are absent in the notification, and hence it is required to be quashed, the lawyer argued.
The third objection raised against the acquisition process is the compensation amount that has been proposed in the notification, is according to jantri or ready reckoner of 2011. The Centre’s amended land acquisition laws stipulate compensation after upgrading and revising the market price of land. The petitioners submitted that the jantri rates have not been fixed after 2011.After preliminary hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice R S Reddy commented, “The sole objective of the new act is to provide the best market price to farmers from whom you (the government) are to acquire the land and therefore you have to upgrade and revise the jantri.” The HC has posted further hearing on the subject on Monday.

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