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Bullet train impact on Gujarat farmers: Japanese funders asked to provide report

December 2018: JICA team hearing Gujarat farmers
Counterview Desk
In a letter, Gujarat's environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti's (PSS') Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai have asked Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to share the copy of the report it has prepared, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, submitted to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the Government of India Japan after a JICA team's visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Top funders of the high profile project, JICA's Matsumoto and other team members visited the two states in order to take a view of of farmers and civil society representatives on its possible adverse impact on the ground. The visit took place on December 7-8, 2018 in Gujarat and January 22-23 ,/2019 in Maharashtra.

Text of the letter:

After your visit to Gujarat on December 7-8, 2018, you had sent us a letter dated December 27, 2018 and we had agreed to your request to share the details and documents which were submitted by us to you with the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and other concerned authorities.
You might have received the response or reply from them. We expected that such sharing of the details and documents will facilitate to address the concerns raised by the affected -- the concerned villagers, organisations working in these areas and us, in a timely, transparent, and comprehensive manner.
During our face-to-face meeting with you during the visit, we, along with other organisations working in the bullet train project areas and affected people, had raised the issues and concerns related to blatant violations related to both the environmental and social impacts resulting from the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project implementation.
We had also submitted our below representations to you, which we had also explained to you in person:
  • 09 July 9 2018: Bullet Train – Train with ‘Bullets’ i.e. ‘A Symbol of Violence, Absolute Force’ Our First Few Bullet Questions to the Government of India:
  1. Why is the Government of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) absent while a foreign government agency is participating in Environmental Consultation?
  2. Ongoing Consultation accepts the need for environmental concerns. Then, why the Environment Laws of India and MoEF&CC have no role in the process?
  3. Are the MoEF&CC and the Environment Laws of the Land mortgaged to the JICA? OR, are these sacrificed suo moto for this project?

  • August 15, 2018: Japanese Investor’s (JICA) Guidelines Violated in the Mumbai - Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project (MAHSR).
  • September 5, 2018: Committee on Railways (2014 - 2015) said Bullet Train Project is Financially Unviable. At what and whose cost? For whom?
As you would know, such high impact projects are of grave concern not only to the project-affected local people but also to the entire global community, including citizens of Japan. We must uphold the universal human rights, principles, and laws related to environmental protection and social justice.
We are aware that pursuant to the visits you have submitted your detailed report, with all the inputs presented by the project affected people and organisations working in these areas and us, to NHSRCL, Government of India and Government of Japan.
Since the report is prepared with inputs from the project affected people and local stakeholders, including us, we request you to provide us with a copy of the report. A letter dated June 10, 2019 was sent to the Managing Director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited but we have not yet received any reply from them.
We further request you to update us on all actions taken by you or any other concerned authorities so far, along with future interventions planned by you to address the concerns raised by us/project affected people and discussed in person, during your visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra.
You, as the President/Review Team of JICA for the MAHSR Project, are responsible to thoroughly review all the procedures and address our concerns. It is imperative now that you take prompt and stringent actions to redress violations and address the concerns completely, transparently, and promptly in accordance with the JICA guidelines.
Do update us on the actions taken by you with their results and your future plan so that we can decide our next course of action for the sake of the project affected people, environment and to uphold the applicable laws of the land.
We look forward to hearing a positive and prompt response from you.

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