Mumbai: The representatives of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) visited villages to be affected by the bullet train project. JICA officials visited Bharodi village in Bhiwandi, Mhatardi and Kotbi village in Dahanu taluka, and Dhamangaon and Amgaon villages in Talasari taluka after an outcry over the non-compliance of JICA guidelines. The officials interacted with around 8-10 people from each village. Brian Lobo, an activist, said, “The villagers found our (JICA’s) views reasonable and they have assured us that they will send the report to the Indian and Japanese government.” Lobo added that JICA has funding guidelines which is being defied for this bullet train project. Most of these regions lack appropriate connectivity.
“Instead of having a proper connectivity, the government is funding this project which cannot be utilised by the villages”, he said. The cost of the tickets in the bullet train can be somewhere between Rs 250 to Rs 3,000. While many associated with the project feel that the issue is only about land acquisition, an activist said it goes beyond the land acquisition, it is about economic viability and lack of proper development in the area. “Only a bullet train cannot be an answer to the villagers. The villagers feel there has been a lack of information flow and transparency which was informed to JICA representatives. The delay in public consultations was also pointed out.