Skip to main content

Bullet train feasibility report omits top chapters on project cost, is shrouded in secrecy: Land rights movement

By Our Representative
Bullet train is “pure megalomania of a despot” and is the symbol of “misplaced priorities” of the NDA government. India needs a Mass Rapid Transport System which is “affordable, efficient and truly green, not these white elephants which will push the country in further debt trap for a long time to come.”
This was the main theme of the speakers at the public meeting organized by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), India’s land-rights organization, at the Constitution Club, Delhi. It was participation of activists, researchers and parliamentarians.
The meeting was organized amidst the ongoing protests against forcible land acquisition in Gujarat and Maharashtra for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship bullet train project, even highlighting how the Feasibility Report of the Mumbai-Ahmadabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR), prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has omitted four crucial chapters.
A report released by National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) at the meeting found that Chapter 12 to 15 went missing in the feasibility report. These chapters deal with crucial details on project costs, implementation plan, financing options, and economic and financial analysis.
Named “Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (Bullet Train), A People’s Critique”, the report says that the government’s report did not illuminate any sustainability model and did not mention the costs and its financial burden upon the citizens.
The bullet train project, which Modi mentioned as his dream project, has attracted criticism for not following the procedures stipulated in the Land Acquisition Act 2013, says the report, adding, the feasibility report surprisingly is using old data, collected in 2011.
The report, citing a Right to Information Act (RTI) plea, points out how the concerned authorities simply cite the ‘secrecy’ clause of the RTI Act as the reason for not providing any information on the bullet train.
The report further says that the bullet train project’s scheduled completion date has been fixed at August 15, 2023, though regretting, the due process such as social an environmental assessment has not been carried out, as mentioned in the Land Acquisition Act 2013.
A number of projects, including expressways, industrial corridors, dedicated flight corridors, existing expansion of the railway line and now the Bullet Train planned to be setup in a short stretch of area, creating havoc to lives of the people.
According to the report, the government estimates the bullet train would have 40,000 passengers in a year, a claim which government sources themselves debunk, citing the present-day passenger traffic data from the feasibility study.
According to the report, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route sees a footfall of 4,700 per day at the airports, and to assert that 98% of these would shift to Bullet Train, as estimated by Geeta Tiwari, a professor at the Delhi IIT, suggests that only those who have certain income they seem to opt for the high-speed train.
Releasing the report, Gujarat based environmentalist and social activist Rohit Prajapati termed the consultant’s report on environment as mockery, adding, “Notification for the consultation was issued just 24 hours, that too as a mere formality. The project is not in compliance with the Land Acquisition Act.”
Astonishingly, he said, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change or any other department of the Government of India is not being involved in consultations around environment and social impact of the project.
The consultations are being done primarily because the JICA funding guidelines require it. This is utter shame when our own laws are not applied and constantly violated.
Among civil rights leaders who addressed the meet included Ulka Mahajan of the Sarvhara Jan Andolan, Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Jayesh Patel of the Khedut Samaj, Gujarat), Ashok Chowdhary of the All India Union of Forest Working People, Vijoo Krishnan of the All India Kisan Sabha, Anil Chaudhary of Insaaf, Ashok Shrimali of Mines Minerals and People, and others.
Politicians who addressed the meeting included Hannan Mollah, Mohammad Saleem, Jitendra Chaudhary of the CPI-M, Naseer Hussain of the Congress, DP Tripathy of the NCP, Manoj Jha of the RJD, D Raja of the CPI, and others.

Comments

Niranjan Dave said…
Is this development worth it?

TRENDING

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.