Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Monday asked the National High-Speed Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and the Thane city collector to file an affidavit stating by when they would initiate land acquisition proceedings in Mumbra area for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

The court also suggested a construction company at Mumbra township in the neighbouring Thane district and the NHSRCL to consider settling the matter of land acquisition. A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing a petition filed by the construction firm ‘Atlanta Limited’, challenging a notice to stop work on a land now reserved for the bullet train project.

The company had moved HC in September against a notice issued on May 2 by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), asking it to stop the construction work on its three-hectare land near Mumbra. 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 bench on Monday suggested the parties to settle the matter amicably.

“They (NHSRCL) cannot change the alignment of the track now. So, eventually, they will have to acquire land. It is best to sit together and settle the matter. The authorities will pay the company compensation as per fair market price,” Justice More said.

Senior counsel M M Vashi, appearing for the petitioner, told HC that they were ready to settle the matter. The bench then sought to know from the NHSRCL and the Thane city collector by when it would initiate proceedings for land acquisition. It posted the petition for next hearing on January 14.

According to the petition, the company has already constructed two residential towers on the land and work on the the third tower is underway. Vashi said the project was issued commencement certificate and all other requisite permissions were taken.

The Centre’s ambitious Rs 1.10 lakh crore bullet train project was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year.

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 landowners will have to be compensated.

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