A file picture of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
PM Modi's ambitious bullet train project has a new hurdle opposing it. This is the latest opposition after a group of farmers were reported of protesting a month ago.
The fresh hurdle could impact the timelines of the dream project.
Godrej Group, one among the country's premiere manufacturing company- engaged in real estate, FMCG and consumer durables, has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that the bullet train, designed to run through Vikhroli, would end-up operating on some part of land that the company claims to own.
Vikhroli, a suburb in Mumbai, has been known to house offices of Godrej's and quarters for its employees.
The nearly 508 km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad distance, is expected to cover some 21 km underground in Mumbai. At Vikhroli, the underground bullet train would have ventilation ducts on the surface.
An unnamed goverment official was quoted in Business Standard, saying that Godrej group sought for the project to be realigned in order to get it's land out of the train's travel map.
Godrej's Infrastructure arm has been reported of owning 8.6 acres of land or 3.5 hectares of land on the route that the train would have passed through. Going by the current valuation, reports have pegged this land at several crores- Rs 500 crores or Rs 5 billion precisely.
The Godrej group's claims are a string of opposing views to a project which has been touted to change the way Indians travel. Most of these opposing views have been held by people who are owners of land on which the project designers envisaged the Bullet train to operate.
A month ago, farmers from Palghar, nearly 80 kilometers from Mumbai, were reported of agitating to save their mango and chickoo orchards from the train's route.
Sify.com had reported back then, that farmers had been distressed since the news of the Bullet train appeared. They claimed that they weren't willing to part away with their land because they couldn't foresee any economic benefits. Some of the economic benefits includes employment for their kids and also a good price for their land.
Besides farmers and environmentalists, critics have claimed that the money spent on the bullet train could have been wisely utilised to upgrade existing infrastructure of the country. The cost of the Bullet train is estimated to run into $17 billion.
Metro Man, E Sreedharan, who had served as Delhi Metro's Managing Director (1995-12), was reported saying that the "expensive project was beyond the reach of common people". He said that India needed a modern, clean, safe and fast rail system.