Mumbai, December 6: The Maharashtra Wildlife Board on Wednesday held a meeting where some key projects were okayed. However, the green body, headed by state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, refused to clear Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, citing that the proposal was submitted too late. The file of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train proposal was reportedly submitted just two days before the meeting.
According to a report, the board deferred the clearance and referred the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project file to a newly-formed committee headed by additional chief secretary Praveen Pardeshi. "We didn’t have enough time to study. It is such an expensive project and the agenda was circulated at the last moment,” Aneesh Andheria, a member of the board and environmentalist, was quoted as saying. NHSRCL Trashes Reports of JICA Stopping Funds for Bullet Train Project.
Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the committee will comprise of experts and NGOs approved by the Supreme Court. They will study the project thoroughly and ensure the safeguarding of wildlife. The proposals for land acquisition for the bullet train project will get a clearance after the committee gives its nod, the minister added. 55 hectares of forest land in Thane district and 62 hectares in Palghar need to be acquired for the project.
For the project, around 1,400 hectares of land will be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares of which is privately owned. The project was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing a soft loan for the Rs 1.10 lakh crore project. Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project: Over 1000 Gujarat Farmers Oppose Land Acquisition Process, File Affidavit in HC.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal, in October, had said that land acquisition for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor would be completed by December this year. Farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra whose lands will be acquired for the project have been protesting against the proposed acquisition.