Bullet train project moving towards dead-end

Looks like our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of bringing bullet train to India will remain an ever-lasting dream. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project tends to move towards a dead-end after Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese agency funding the project, has refused to release any further installments till the Centre resolves the dispute with the protesting farmers over land acquisition.

Last week, over 1,000 Gujarat farmers had written to the Japan Government alleging violation of the guidelines of the Japanese funding agency by the Centre.

The letter urged the JICA to withhold the remaining instalments until the guidelines of the agency are complied with.

“The recent developments have miffed the Japanese agency. JICA, which is funding the project, has refused to release further instalments. The PMO has taken note of it and has ordered to form a special committee to look into it,” a senior Finance Ministry official told The New Indian Express.

“The fund issue is a big problem now. JICA has not released the scheduled funds. They have asked to settle the farmers’ protest first. This will pose a problem and will delay the project further. Even the state governments are facing problem with funding. The Finance Ministry has already hinted that there is no room to increase the compensation to farmers,” he added.

Also read: “Swachh Bharat” not helping manual scavengers

The Bullet Train project is expected to cost Rs. 1.10 lakh crores with Japan having promised a loan of 88,000 crores to India. According to The New Indian Express, Rs. 125 crore has been released by the Japanese agency so far.

Out of 1,400 hectares of land which is to be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares is privately owned.

The project was launched by PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017.

After this development, The 508-km high speed train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which was expected to be operational by 2022, seems to be moving towards a dead-end.

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