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Dedicated Freight Corridor: Railways spends Rs 4,959 cr for land acquisition

Mumbai: The railways, which keenly wants to start the Rs 81,500 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) by 2019, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the project’s biggest bugbear —land acquisition and resettlement of project affected people —does not come in the way. The ministry last week announced that till July this year an amount of Rs 4,959 crore (Rs 4,600 crore for land compensation and Rs 359 crore for rehabilitation) had been awarded for the projects on the western leg between Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai and Dadri near Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The payments, officials said, had been made under the provisions contained in Railway Amendment Act 2008, Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013. The expenditure likely to be incurred on this account is Rs 6,000 crore approximately by the time all the land required for the project is acquired and the PAPs are rehabilitated. As per the 2016-17 Pink Book — the railways book on budgeted expenditure for a financial year — a sum of Rs 3,000 crore was allotted by the railways for land acquisition. This includes Rs 1,500 crore for the western leg of the freight corridor between Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and Rs 1,420 crore for the eastern leg between Dankuni in West Bengal and Ludhiana in Punjab.

One of the bigger land tussles in the DFC project was the acquisition of land between Panvel and JNPT. This issue between DFC and Cidco was solved by March this year and in April the DFC handed over a cheque of Rs 608 crore to Cidco to straight away acquire 14.4 hectares of the 32 hectares of land required between Panvel and JNPT.

The land game

*Total land required for DFC: 10,548 hectares or 105.48 sq km

*Total land acquired: Over 85%

*Land acquisition held-up on DFC: 440 patches across 358 km

*Arbitration cases on land acquisition: 6,300 (out of which 3,125 finalised)

*Court cases on land acquisition: 1,445 (out of which 432 finalised)

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