Ahmedabad: Land acquired at 6.5 times jantri rates, says nodal agency for bullet train project

State governments along with NHSRCL will be acquiring 681 hectares in Gujarat, 7.5 hectares in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 246 hectares in Maharashtra. (Illustration)

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), which has been acquiring land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Thursday said it was giving 6.5 times the published jantri rates as compensation to those whose land parcels are being acquired for the project.

Jantri rates refer to the market price of land as recorded in the government’s ready reckoner document.

A spokesperson of the NHSRCL quoted the rate while reacting to the Gujarat High Court’s order on Thursday dismissing most of the petitions filed by farmers against the acquisition of their land for the project. The NHSRCL spokesperson said that a "total of 61 petitions were filed in Gujarat High Court and 59 were dismissed vide the High Court order today." The two pending petitions are expected to be taken up for hearing on October 2.

"More than 50 per cent of the land has been acquired in Gujarat for the project," the NHSRCL spokesperson said. The land acquisition for the project had begun around August 2018 when The Indian Express reported that NHSRCL was putting up pillars across farmlands in Gujarat indicating the alignment of the bullet train corridor.

State governments along with NHSRCL will be acquiring 681 hectares in Gujarat, 7.5 hectares in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 246 hectares in Maharashtra. The Gujarat government has been giving four times the market rate to farmers whose land is being acquired in rural and areas covered by the urban development authorities. The acquisition rates in urban areas is twice the market rate. Farmers who willingly offer their land for the project have also been offered a 25 per cent bonus. The government will also make an up-front payment to farmers, which will be 80 per cent of the awarded amount.

During his visit a week ago, managing director of NHSRCL Achal Khare said that all the land parcels acquired so far were done "with consent" of the land owners. He said of the 5,400 private plots in Gujarat, consent agreements were signed for 2,600 plots (360 hectares) and payments of Rs 1,800 crore have been made.

Khare also said that there were only 15-odd villages in Gujarat where the project was facing land acquisition troubles as farmers wanted better compensation. Talking about Maharashtra, the MD said among the 97 villages in the state, the joint measurement survey was pending in only 17 villages, while 97 sale deeds were concluded in Thane and 41 in Palghar.

Khare pointed out that the jantri rates in Gujarat, which were last revised in 2011, were the lowest in Navsari for which NHSRCL was in talks with the state government with regard to the compensation.

NHSRCL also said in a statement released on Thursday that skill development training was being done in Kheda for people who would be displaced by the project.