MumbaiAmid strong opposition from political parties and villagers alike, work for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is in full swing. The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) has completed almost 50% of the joint measurement survey (JMS) in the total 98 project-affected villages across Thane and Palghar districts. According to the NHSRCL officials, the JMS is being jointly coordinated with the district administrations, and the survey would be conducted even during the monsoon season. Of the total 25 villages in Thane, the JMS for 18 villages has been completed. In Palghar district, out of the total 73 villages, authorities have surveyed 29 villages. “We have kept a target of December end to complete the survey work,” an official from NHSRCL said, during an informal briefing with media persons. The official added they are still confident that the civil work for the bullet train will begin from January 2019. Of the 1,400 hectares of land to be acquired for the high-speed corridor, 353 hectares is to be acquired in Maharashtra from 98 villages across Thane and Palghar districts. Several of these villages have already adopted Gram Sabha resolutions, opposing any land acquisition for the project, adding to the troubles of the railway undertaking. The NHSRCL has acquired only 0.9 hectare of land at Bandra-Kurla Complex. Once the JMS is completed, NHSRCL will send the details of the land to the respective district administration for further procedure, thereafter which, the state will hand over the acquired land to NHSRCL. Railway board chairman – Ashwani Lohani, who was on a visit to Mumbai, said the land acquisition process will not delay the project. “The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will be a paradigm shift in India’s transport system and our target is to complete the project by the year 2022. We will be working with all the existing technologies available,” he said. The bullet train will have a 507km-long route, out of which 156 km will pass through Maharashtra and the remaining through Gujarat. 21.6km is the underground route from BKC to Shilphata. From there, the train will have a 46km-long route in Thane district and the remaining in Palghar district. NHSRCL is offering compensation worth five times the ready reckoner (RR), for land acquisition. It will also pay 25% more compensation for those who willingly come forward to give away their land for the project.Until now, the NHSRCL has acquired only 0.9 hectare of land at Bandra-Kurla Complex. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has given this land for a bullet train station. Another NHSRCL officer said they are also in process of acquiring another land parcel from Godrej near Vikhroli for the project and the process is about to complete. The estimated cost of the project is ₹1.10 lakh crore. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed to fund 81% of the total project cost, which is ₹ 88,087 crore, through a 50-year loan at an interest rate of 0.1%, while the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments will bear the remaining project cost.