In a classic case of having woken up after missing the boat, the state government, following a snub from the Centre, is now scrambling to hasten its land acquisition process for the ambitious Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. The corridor is slated to run across 1,500km from the National Capital Region (NCR) to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Panvel.
The Gujarat government has managed to acquire 70% of the land required for the project. In Maharashtra, land acquisition is yet to start. Around 460 hectares of land has to be acquired along the Panvel-Dahanu Road stretch for the project.
Irked with the state’s slow pace of progress, the Centre has now decided to go ahead with the first phase of the project, across 931km from Rewari in Haryana to Vadodara in Gujarat.
The bids for the second phase, across 569km from Vadodara to JNPT, will be taken up later. This means that traffic at Gujarat’s ports will get a boost at the cost of JNPT or Mumbai port. A worried state government has now set up a committee headed by chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad to speed up land acquisition.
The government resolution issued on Thursday states: “By stating that land acquisition in Maharashtra for the project has been slow, it was decided to take up the JNPT to Vadodara alignment in the second phase. That defeats the purpose of the project.”