Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is confident that there will not be “any stress” in getting the land needed for India’s ambitious bullet train project, even as protests continue in pockets of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“Environmental and social impact studies either have been completed or are near completion. I personally don't see any stress in getting the land (for the project),” Goyal told reporters on the sidelines of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank summit.
A senior government functionary also said Japan, which is almost fully funding the project with a soft loan, is increasing its funding to $5 billion per year from the earlier $3 billion.
Goyal added that government is not facing any resistance on land acquisition ever since it increased the compensation to four times of the market value. He said that in the case of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, compensation for land has been increased to five times if it is through consent.
Addressing those who are protesting against the land acquisition, he claimed that people in both Palghar and Surat, which are witnessing protests at present, will stand to benefit from the project. He drew parallels with the Beijing-Shanghai high speed rail project, and said the government wants to develop the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch as a high growth zone just like the stretch between the two Chinese cities.
There’ll be more high speed rail corridors in future, he said,adding the AIIB has showed interest in such projects. At present, the AIIB has funded seven projects worth $1.4 billion since its formation in 2016, making India as its biggest beneficiary.