Gujarat HC dismisses farmers’ pleas against bullet train land acquisition
The government has set an ambitious deadline for completing the project by August 15, 2022, when India will mark 75 years of Independence.Updated: Sep 20, 2019 04:13 IST
The Gujarat high court on Thursday dismissed over 120 petitions of farmers challenging the land acquisition process for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project even as it said the issue of higher compensation is still “open”. A division bench of justices A S Dave and Biren Vaishnav said the farmers can approach the authorities to seek more money for their land.
Bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will mark India’s shift to an era of high-speed trains capable of hitting speeds of up to 350 km per hour. The government has set a deadline for completing the project by August 15, 2022, when India will mark 75 years of Independence.
The court said the farmers could cite instances wherein National Highway Authority of India or any other such entity has offered higher compensation for acquiring land. It also upheld the validity of the Land Acquisition Act, which the Gujarat government amended in 2016. The petitioners had challenged the state amendment, which tweaked a 2013 central law.
The court turned down the farmers’ claim that the Gujarat government did not have powers to issue a notification for land acquisition since the project was divided between two states— Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Anand Yagnik, the petitioners’ lawyer, said the farmers will move the Supreme Court against the order. “The HC has observed that land acquisition is legally and constitutionally right. But it has kept issue of compensation open. So, this cannot be called a total defeat for the farmers.”
The All Indian Kisan Sabha, a farmer’s body, called the order unfortunate. “But it is good that the farmers will move the Supreme Court,” said AIKS president Ashok Dhawale.
First Published: Sep 20, 2019 04:13 IST