Bullet train: Gujarat High Court nod for land acquisition

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected more than a hundred petitions of farmers challenging the land acquisition process and seeking higher compensation. The issue is now set to move to the Supreme Court.

The farmers had objected to the land acquisition and had demanded that their compensation be computed in line with the central government's land acquisition law, after assessing the socio-economic impact of the project on the affected persons.

The farmers were also demanding prevalent market rates. The Division Bench of Justice Anant Dave and Justice B. Vaishnav held Gujarat’s 2016 amendment to the Centre's Land Acquisition law as valid and observed that the social impact assessment carried out under Japan International Cooperation Agency guidelines was satisfactory.

The division bench also upheld the State government move to give a go-by to the Central legal provision on social impact assessment and rehabilitation and resettlement. Anand Yagnik, an advocate of the farmers, said that the farmers will now move the Supreme Court.

It had all begun with five farmers moving the court. While these farmers later withdrew their petitions, several other farmers—in hundreds—filed petitions.

The project, which will cost more than 1.10 lakh crore rupees, is expected to be completed by December 2023.

A few days ago, Achal Khare, managing director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, had said that out of the 1380 hectare land required for the project, they had already acquired 622 hectare.

A spokesperson of the NHSRCL said that out of the 61 petitions filed in the High Court, 59 have been dismissed. He said that in Gujarat, the NHSRCL is giving 6.5 times the published ‘jantri’ rate as compensation. According to him, more than 50 per cent of the required land has been already acquired in Gujarat.

BY RK MISRA