MUMBAI : The Shiv Sena united with the Opposition, including the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), All India Kisan Sabha of the CPI(M), and other organisations under the aegies of the Bullet Train Virodhi Janmanch at Palghar on Sunday afternoon. Though Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was to attend the rally, he chose to send Dr Neelam Gorhe, MLC and spokesperson of the Sena, and the same went to Jayant Patil, NCP Pradesh president who skipped the rally and sent Nawab Malik in his place. The Congress' Jayram Ramesh ex MP was also supposed to address the rally, but he skipped the same and Kedar Kale, a local Congress leader filled in his gap. The Sena has joined the Congress and other regional parties to show opposition unity in Palghar after the BJP emerged victorious in the recent Lok Sabha bypoll.
Dr Gorhe while addressing the tribals said 73 villages in Palghar were not taken into confidence by the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) and went ahead with the Rs 1.10 lakh crore bullet train. Around a total 1,400 hectare of land would be purchased by the NHSRC for the project, and thousands of tribals will lose their livelihood,she said.
To gather more investment in Gujarat, the PM Modi has set upon the ambitious project and will only help traders and investors in Gujarrat and the Centre will reap in huge benefits,said Dr Gorhe. What is the use of the development, when tribals and the common man will be denied its benefits,,she questioned. Instead the PM Modi should have used the Rs 1.10 lakh crore loan from Japan to better the local train services between Mumbai and Dahanu, and Kalyan by increasing the frequency of locals, increasing the height of platforms and offer more amenities to the lakhs of commuters,she said.
Uddhav Thackeray on 18 May had already shown the party's support to the protestors and we will oppose the project tooth and nail,said Dr Gorhe. In fact, the Sena will raise the issue in the monsoon session of the State Assembly and Council due to start from 4 July at Nagpur and also raise the issue in the Lok Sabha during the next session, she said, and we will meet the Governor of Maharashtra to oppose the project. Just to impress the world, the PM Modi has embarked on the bullet train project, and to show that India is developing, but PM Modi is fooling the world and also the people of India,she said. A total of 350 hectares of land in Maharashtra will be used for the bullet train project,she said.
Nawab Malik, NCP leader in his speech, said the bullet train is not at all a prority. The PM Modi should concentrate on strenghtening the present railway infrastructure and give hiked prices to the farmers for their agro produce.
Ulka Mahajan, convenor of the forum, also spoke and said the government deliberately diluted the law to acquire land from tribals in the district and said the sanction of the gram sabha is no longer mandatory for the purchase of tribal land and this is undemocratic.
On Saturday, the Palghar District Collector Dr Prashant Narnaware called off the public consultative meeting beween the NHSRC and the stakeholders as the farmers did not get the technical report of the project and the meeting was convened at a short notice and hence only a few tribals made it to the meeting.