The Palghar police have registered a case of rioting and assault on a government servant against about 500 villagers who tried to stop a survey work for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, work for which is supposed to start in 2018. The ruckus is said to have started because the surveying firm allegedly refused to show their ID cards when the villagers and a sarpanch asked for them.
No one has been arrested yet.
On Tuesday, a team of eight engineers from IIC Technologies, Hyderabad, came to Padghe village to conduct a survey for the rail corridor. As the team were preparing to start work, angry villagers from Padghe, Kalale, Varangade, Maan, Dapseepada, Pawarpada, Lombadpada and other villages assembled there and asked the team for their ID cards.
Nikita Lad, the sarpanch of Padghe, said, “I asked the engineers what their purpose was and demanded to see their ID cards. They refused, saying that they are answerable to the Railway authorities and no one else. Later, they told us that they were surveying the land for the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.”
“What is worse, some of the engineers said that our land and farms would be taken up for the project,and we will be given land to settle in Nandurbar and Latur, as part of the Project Affected People (PAP) policy. This infuriated us,” said Prashant Patil, social activist.
A heated argument ensued between the villagers and the engineers, and the team had to stop the survey. The police intervened and registered a case under sections 353 (assault of government servant on duty), 143,147,148,149 (rioting) and other relevant sections under the Indian Penal Code against unknown persons.
“No one has been arrested yet,” said inspector Sanjay Hazare from the Palghar police.
“We are not against the national project, but the engineers could have behaved properly. After all, we are the ones who stand to be affected in the long run,” said Patil.
The other projects, besides the bullet train, that will be carried out in Palghar are the proposed coastal highway, the Mumbai-New Delhi corridor, the mega Mumbai-Vadodara highway and other projects, in Palghar district.
“These projects will need the farmers to give up on their lands and we are already worried. Now they say that we will be displaced to Nandurbar or Latur and this is just shocking. With the proposed bullet train, the farmers will be asked to farm 500m away from the site and we will have to travel 10 km to reach the other side of our farms,” said Patil.