The Bombay High Court, on October 10, 2018, directed the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and the Thane civic body, to reply to a construction firm’s plea against a notice to stop work, on a land now reserved for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. Atlanta Limited had moved the high court last month, challenging the notice issued on May 2, 2018, by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), asking it to stop the construction work on its three-hectare land near Mumbra town, in Thane district.
According to the notice, the building was coming up on the land reserved for the bullet train project, spread across three districts of Maharashtra.
The petitioner’s counsel, MM Vashi, argued before a division bench of acting chief justice NH Patil and justice GS Kulkarni that their plot was not mentioned in the TMC’s notice. NHSRCL lawyer TJ Pandian said it was a mistake, to which the bench observed that the petitioner was suffering because of this ‘inadvertent mistake’. The court directed the NHSRCL and the TMC to file their affidavits in response to the petition, within a week.
According to the petition, the company has already constructed two residential towers on the land and work on the third tower is underway. Vashi said the project had been issued the commencement certificate and all other requisite permissions have been taken. The petition said the company came across the public notice dated March 13, 2018, wherein, the Thane collector declared that the process to acquire land for the bullet train project, was to be undertaken by NHSRCL. There was no mention of the construction firm’s land in the advertisement, the petition said. However, on May 2, 2018, the TMC served a notice to the construction company’s architect, asking to stop work, as its land was to be acquired for the bullet train project.
The centre’s ambitious Rs 1.10 lakh crore project was launched by prime minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, in September 2017. The bullet train will run at a speed of 320-350 kmph, with 12 stations across its 500-km stretch. For the project, around 1,400 hectares of land will be acquired in Gujarat and Maharashtra, 1,120 hectares of which is privately owned. Around 6,000 land owners will have to be compensated.