India is developing over a 500-kilometre long High Speed Railway (HSR), more popularly known as the bullet train project, between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with primary funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).While this is a priority project for the national government, farmers and tribal people who stand to lose their land and houses to the project are mired in confusion about the proposed alignment and are accusing the government of not consulting them properly and working in secrecy.The farmers and tribal communities along the route are not ready to give up land and point out that there are victims to multiple projects in the area. They are also awaiting fair compensation from earlier projects and have decided to intensify their protests both on ground and inside the court. “I was not born when my family members were displaced from their ancestral land. Till date we have not got what all was promised to us. Now they want to displace us again from our land. Where will we go? We are just starting our lives. We won’t give up on our land come what may,” said 18-year-old Dashrath Baraf who had a resolute look on his face as he stood with his friends of the similar age. Baraf, a resident of Hanuman Nagar in Palghar district of Maharashtra, is one among thousands of tribal people from Maharashtra and Gujarat who stand to lose from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project – the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (HSR) Corridor – popularly called the “Bullet Train” project. The route will connect Maharashtra’s capital and the country’s financial centre Mumbai, with Ahmedabad, another major business centre of India. It involves a dedicated track of approximately 508 kilometres passing through Maharashtra (~156 kms), Gujarat (~351 kms) and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (two kms), including a seven-kilometre undersea tunnel in Thane Creek. A total of 12 stations are envisaged on the route – Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati. Though the maximum design speed is 350 km per hour the maximum operating speed is expected to be around 320 km per hour. The travel time for the whole journey between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be 2.07 hours on trains with limited stops and 2.58 hours on trains stopping at all stations, both significantly lower than the average travel time of seven to eight hours at present. The 508.17 km route for the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Map by NHSRCL. The project’s cost is estimated to be in the vicinity of Rs. 1.08 trillion (Rs. 108,000 crore) and about 81 percent of the project cost (Rs. 880 billion/Rs. 88,000 crore) is being provided by Japan as a soft loan at 0.1 percent per annum with repayment period of 50 years including a grace period of 15 years. The funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been the subject of speculation in several recent news reports. In response to a set of queries sent by Mongabay-India, regarding protests by tribal people and farmers against the project, JICA said it is aware about them and is trying to ascertain the facts. “As far as the protests are concerned we are aware of it through various articles, but we are currently confirming the facts with the executing agency. Land acquisition is the responsibility of the Indian Government, and land acquisition is not scheduled to be funded under the ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan,” said JICA.