India’s top court will hear a group of farmers seeking to halt land acquisition for the South Asian nation’s maiden high-speed rail project, funded by Japan.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta issued a notice to the government on Friday seeking its view on the farmers’ petitions. The apex court will hear the case on March 20.

The court’s decision threatens to further delay the 508-kilometer (316 miles) rail project linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the capital city of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Farmer protests over land acquisition is a recurring issue that has plagued infrastructure investments in India.

The farmers’ allegations that the land acquisition process for the project is illegal was rejected by a lower court in September, prompting them to move the top court.

Japan International Cooperation Agency had in 2017 agreed to fund most of the $17 billion needed for the project that will give a modern push to Asia’s oldest rail network.


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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