Mumbai: The Bombay high court will hear on 31 July a plea filed by Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd against National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) and the state and Union governments, seeking the court’s intervention to ensure that an alternate route is chosen for the bullet train project.
One of the entry points to the underground tunnel of the project falls on prime property in Vikhroli, a central suburb of Mumbai, which belongs to the century-old maker of white goods and locks.
The company has thus moved against the government authorities under the relatively new law of Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013, against the proposed acquisition.
The company, one of the country’s largest privately-held corporations, contends that the government should consider an alternative for the proposed tunnel.
The conglomerate has sought a direction to authorities concerned to change the project’s alignment so that it can get nearly 8.6 acres of land belonging to its infrastructure arm Godrej Construction out of the project’s map, according to a Press Trust of India report.
“Godrej is seeking to change the route which is not feasible. The company is proposing to give other land instead of this but the government can’t change the route now," said a person aware of the issue.
“According to the current alignment of the bullet train project, of the total 508.17 km of rail track between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, about 21 km is planned to be underground. One of the entry points to the underground tunnel falls on the land in Vikhroli, land belongs to Godrej," said the person quoted above.
A division bench of Justices Naresh H. Patil and G.S. Kulkarni will hear the case, which was filed on 21 May, according to the Bombay High Court.
Email queries to Godrej & Boyce remained unanswered till the time of filing the report, while NHSRCL spokesman Dhananjay Kumar refused to divulge details as the matter is subjudice.
Mumbai-based law firm Bachubhai Munim & Co is advising the company promoted by brothers Jamshyd and Adi Godrej in the dispute.
In a related development, farmers in Gujarat have also filed a case in the high court challenging acquisition of land for the project.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year in Ahmedabad.
The country’s first bullet train will run at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour, covering the stretch in less than three hours instead of the usual seven.
The train will halt at 12 stations, out of which four will be in Maharashtra.
PTI contributed to this story.