The Maharashtra government on Monday informed the Bombay High Court that the land acquisition process on the entire line of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has been completed except the plot owned by Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd at suburban Vikhroli.
The state government and the company are embroiled in a legal dispute since 2019 over the acquisition of the company-owned land in Vikhroli for the bullet train project.
Of the total 508.17 km of rail track between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, about 21 km is to be underground. One of the entry points to the underground tunnel falls on the land at Vikhroli (owned by Godrej).
The company had last month filed a petition challenging an order passed by the Maharashtra government on September 15 awarding compensation to it for land acquisition for the bullet train project.
On Monday, a division bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and S G Dige said it would commence hearing on the petition from December 5.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state government, said the matter was urgent as the project is being held up.
“The entire land required for the project is from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The entire acquisition of land has been completed except for this patch (owned by Godrej),” Kumbhakoni said.
He sought that the court begin hearing on the plea at the earliest, as the state government has completed all formalities for acquisition and now only taking possession of the land remains.
Godrej’s land was the only portion which was not in the state’s possession, and all the other land has already been acquired, Kumbhakoni said.
On Monday, the company also filed an application seeking disclosures from the state government of all documents and records it had relied upon while deciding which plot of land was best suitable to be acquired for the project.
Earlier, the state government and the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) had claimed that Godrej & Boyce was creating unnecessary hurdles and impediments in the land acquisition process and was hence delaying the project.
This allegation was refuted by the company, which claimed that the land acquisition proceedings were “illegal and bad in law”.
This would be the country’s first bullet train and would run at a maximum speed of Rs 350 lm per hour, covering the stretch between the two cities in under three hours from the usual seven.
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