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

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Why crib? 4.5% is far better than pre-1980 'Hindu rate of growth': Subramanian replies

By Rajiv Shah
Even as sticking to his original argument that India's gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 has been overestimated by 2.5%, renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has said in a fresh paper that his estimate of post-2011-12 growth rate at around 4.5% is surely not "implausibly low", as some of his critics have been arguing following his controversial June paper.

UP's Sonbhadra killing of 10 tribals highlights 'failure' to implement Forest Rights Act

Counterview Desk
On July 17, as many as 10 people, including three women, were killed and 28 injured when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a group of tribal farmers in Ubha village of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. While the firing took place following a clash between over a land ownership dispute, it reportedly highlights failure of officials enforce Forest Rights Acts (FRA) and Survey Settlement in favour of tribals.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.

None of India's ministries, departments have mining children on the radar: MPs told

By Our Representative
A delegation of two civil rights groups, Samata and mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has impressed upon several of India's members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss and raise issues relating to illegal mining, the Samata judgment, children in the mining areas and the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in Parliament, adding, the issue of involvement of gram sabhas in decision making ought to be central for allowing any new projects in forest areas.

Demand to withdraw sedition charge against 30,000 unnamed Adivasis, activists

Counterview Desk
Every 10th Adivasi of Jharkhand’s Pathalgadi area is charged with sedition, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM), a network of activists and people’s organisations, which organised a protest in Ranchi in front of the Governor's house, has said. In a statement following the protest on Monday, JMM has called for larger support to stand up against violations of Constitutional rights of Adivasis and use of sedition law as tool for repression.

Introduced in Lok Sabha, amendment proposals a 'blow' to RTI's federal scheme

By Venkatesh Nayak*
In less than two months of returning to power, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA-III) government has revived its 2018 proposal to curtail the autonomy of the Information Commissions established under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). A similar attempt was made exactly one year ago but the Bill to assume power to regulate the tenure, salaries and allowances of Information Commissioners across the country was not tabled in Parliament.

Satellite images may be used to support verdict to 'evict' lakhs of India's forest dwellers

By Our Representative
Ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing on July 24, indications have emerged suggesting India's top officialdom is preparing grounds to support the controversial petition by hardcore conservationists, which led the apex court to order on February 13 a time-bound eviction of millions of forest dwellers, whose claims for forest land under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) was rejected by authorities across India.