Questioning the veracity of media report claiming that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has stopped funding for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train on the pretext that the government should first look into the problems of farmers, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), nodal agency for the execution of the project, said the report is not true and not based on facts.
"In fact, the GoI and JICA have already signed a loan agreement of about 10 billion yen and no payment is pending from JICA as on date," NHSRCL said in a statement.
NHSRCL said it is committed to care of the interests of the affected farmers, adding that all necessary steps with regard to submission of various reports ie. social impact assessment, environment impact assessment and indigenous people plan have already been taken by the Indian side and the reports already submitted to JICA.
Earlier, a news report had claimed that JICA has stopped funding for the construction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project citing farmers' issues.
Formed on October 1, 2003, JICA is a governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan. Its aim is to "contribute to the promotion of international cooperation as well as the sound development of Japanese and global economy by supporting the socioeconomic development, recovery or economic stability of developing regions".
The National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHRCL), the nodal body to implement the project, has failed to make any headway in several areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is facing several issues over land acquisition in both the states, with farmers seeking more compensation and other basic amenities like common ponds, schools, solar lights and doctors in village areas. About 110 km of the 508 km train corridor passes through Palghar in Maharashtra where the NHRCL has faced stiff resistance from farmers. In Gujarat too, around 850 hectares is required to be acquired for the project from around 5,000 families across eight districts.
Some farmers of Gujarat, alleging the negligence of social and environmental concerns in the acquisition process, moved the Gujarat High Court, challenging the NHRCL's land acquisition process. They had sent a letter to JICA to stop funding till the government address the farmers' concerns. The farmers have also invited the Japan ambassador to India to visit the affected areas to understand the situation.(Edited by Manoj Sharma)