Bullet train, unity statue, Ahmedabad Metro on fast track as Gujarat readies for 2019

NEW DELHI: The Gujarat government has advanced the deadline to finish land acquisition for the bullet train project by November 2018, and fast track the Ahmedabad metro and Statue of Unity, keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 in mind where the party hopes for big wins in the state.

Senior leaders of the BJP in Gujarat took an extensive meeting of organisational heads in the state On Tuesday to put in a place a strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha elections to improve the party???s rural outreach.

The Prime Minister’s Office is keenly monitoring the process of implementation of key projects in Gujarat where the BJP faced a tough fight with the opposition improving its tally to 77 seats last year, senior sources said. The government and the party, under the centre’s scrutiny is working towards improving governance, addressing voter discontent and finishing off major projects before the polls, official sources said.

The social impact assessment of the 194 villages of the state the bullet project will affect is over, Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh told ET. The total length of the bullet train is 508 km of 349 km of the route is in Gujarat.

“Although it was initially decided finish the process in the starting of 2019, we want things moving as quickly as possible so we advanced it,” Singh said.

Last week, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed his reservations about the acquisition of farm land for the project and has written a??letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention, saying farmers’ constitutional rights were being “bulldozed.”

??Patel emphasised that land must be aacquired under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and not under its modified version cleared by the Gujarat government. Gujarat, even in the past, has seen protests by farmers over acquisition of land for projects such as Narmada dam. More recently, in Bhavnagar some farmers gathered to protest against acquisition of land by Gujarat Power Corporation Limited.

Singh, however, said the Gujarat government was “strictly and generously” following the land acquisition act of the state government which was a modified version of the central act. “At no point have the farmers raised any issue of low compensation. We are constantly monitoring the process. The government has the best interests of the farmers.”

“There is a notification under section 11 that has been issued to 140 of these 194 villages,” he said, adding that Indian Railways has agreed to depute its officers to some cities in the state to help the government with land acquisition in urban areas.

“We told the railways authorities that it was slightly tough to acquire land in in urban areas as we had experienced in Ahmedabad metro. They have agreed to set up offices for this purpose in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and on the outskirts of Surat. Special officers will be deputed for this in the next four months. Additional compensation will be given too.” Singh said.

Statue of Unity

PM Modi will also inaugurate the 182-metre tall Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ‘Statue of Unity’ on October 31, Patel???s birth anniversary. Apart from the towering monument being erected at Sadhu Bet, 3.32 km from the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada at Kevadia, the road from Kevadia to Vadodara is being relaid as a four-lane highway and a broad-gauge rail network between the two places is also being put in place.

It is learnt that PM Modi wanted a specific valley of flowers on the riverbed to be inaugurated by him on the same day. A ropeway on the dam at a height of 100 metres will come up in the next two years for tourists.

“It will be a beautiful sight in all, with the water flowing on one side, flowers and statue on the other side. A tribal museum and archive on Patel, a water body and an amphibian bus will be ready by October 31,” Singh said.

Ahmedabad Metro and other projects

Singh added that civil work on two stretches of Ahmedabad on the metro connectivity is slated to be over by September-October this year. “The trial runs on the priority stretches, Vastral to Apparel Park, and the one on Vishala one will begin by January.”

An airport in Dholera and Japanese industrial park in North Gujarat are among the other projects the government is focussing on. 2019 will also be the first time the Vibrant Gujarat summit, first mooted by Modi as the CM of the state, will be held on dates different from the usual. The event will start on January 18 to ensure it doesn’t coincide with Kumbha Mela. The summit this year will focus on trade and creation of jobs, apart from investments, Singh said.

It is learnt that both party president Amit Shah and PM Modi will take monitor the implementation of the centre’s schemes in the state and the progress of key schemes after the Karnataka elections.

Source : economictimes.indiatimes

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