Skip to main content

Opposition, land rights network come together, demand scrapping of Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project

By Our Representative
In an unusual development, India’s land rights network Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) and 12 opposition parties, including Indian National Congress (INC), Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (Secular), and Left parties (CPI, CPI-M), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have demanded scrapping of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project project, even as appreciating the suspension of the loans to the project by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as a “small step of success”.
In a statement issued in the wake of the Jan Manch organized in Delhi, BAA warned, “If the government does not withdraw this project, BAA will fiercely oppose it. It will also keep building resistance against all anti-people development projects which require forcible land acquisitions and the loot of natural resources.” It asked all political parties to include “scrapping of the project to be included in the manifestos of all opposition parties.”
The statement said, “The bullet train project is yet another instance of the current government’s skewed and biased idea of development. The project will potentially wreak havoc on farmers and communities across Gujarat and Maharashtra and will lead to irreversible damage to the environment and also pushing thousands of people to displacement and utter poverty.”
It continued, “The entire project is extremely devastating in terms of finances and will drown the country in debt in the coming years. Clearly, the way the project is planned, stands to serve the capitalists’ interest. It aids the devastating industrial corridors and is designed to be inaccessible to the common public.”
It added, “Currently the country is facing international flak for not being able to provide basic amenities like food, education, health and sanitation. Instead of focusing on the basic needs that will aid in the holistic development of the people and the communities, the government continues to sell people’s resources for the benefit of the corporate mafia in the country.”
In his opening remarks, Hannan Mollah, national convener, BAA, criticised the government’s decision to dilute the clauses of peoples’ consent, social impact assessment and others in the Transparency in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act 2013 for a project which is “basically anti-people”. He added, “This was possible only by the central government bringing in ordinance to topple down the existing Act. The need of the hour is a political movement that will finally be pro-people.”
Ulka Mahajan of the Sarvahara Jan Andolan, expressing anguish over the the project, said, “Political and economic decisions that are made in Delhi are extremely ignorant of the ground realities of the rest of the country. In the name of infrastructure development, the government is attracting foreign investment. But the question remains, at the cost of whom are these projects being initiated?”
INC’s Ashok Tanwar in his message, said that the policies and projects of the Modi government are “anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-worker in nature”, adding, “The government is specifically facilitating few rich corporate conglomerates. The need of the hour is to invest in the Indian Railways which actually caters to the larger public unlike the bullet train. Congress has pledged its full support to BAA and the farmers till the bullet train project is scrapped.”
DP Tripathi of NCP stated that the bullet train project is a ploy to assassinate the farmers of Maharashtra and Gujarat. He added, “The priority of the government should be to address the primary needs and demands of the people and current government has no focus which is people centric.”
Somnath Bharti of AAP spoke of the current government’s “misguided priorities”, saying, “We should prioritise improvement of people’s health, education and basic amenities. The bullet train project doesn’t benefit the common people, it only aids the already rich and thriving.”
Shri. D. Raja of CPI said that the government lacks vision. Instead of strengthening the existing infrastructure of the railways to make it affordable and accessible to common people, it has put forward a project which has “no rationale”.
Naval Kishore of RJD said, “ The history of the current government is one which does not respect the constitution. They have always cheated the people of the country, like they are doing now through policies like goods and services tax (GST) and processes like demonetisation.”
Javed Ali of Samajwadi Party said the bullet train project has not been envisioned in the development paradigm which is people-oriented. “When the fundamental infrastructure is not yet in place, a project like this for a small distance is unjustified and is a distortion of people centred development”, he added.
KK Ragesh of CPI-M said, “In a country where more than 2 crore children are out of schools and there is dearth of health facilities, the priority of this government is misplaced. The bullet train project is just an ornamental one which is illogical, especially when the government does not allocate resources in the social sectors.”

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara 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".

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.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.