Skip to main content

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.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

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.

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".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i