The Japan International Cooperation Agency on Friday signed an agreement with the Indian government to provide an Official Development Assistance loan of 89,547 million Japanese yen (approximately Rs 5,500 crore) for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, reported PTI. The Japanese embassy said the amount was part of tranche 1 of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project.

The state-owned agency also signed another pact to provide a loan of 25,903 million Japanese yen (approximately Rs 1,600 crore) for the Kolkata East-West Metro Project that will connect Howrah Maiden to Salt Lake Sector V through Esplanade.

Both the agreements were signed between CS Mohapatra, the additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, and JICA India’s Chief Representative Katsuo Matsumoto, reported The Hindu. “This further consolidates and strengthens the strategic and global partnership between India and Japan,” an official statement said.

Matsumoto hailed India’s economic growth in recent years. “With this growth has come a sharp rise in the volume of passengers and goods being transported in the country,” Matsumoto said, according to PTI.

The agreement comes days after JICA denied reports in the Indian media that it has stopped its funding for the bullet train corridor.

On September 22, The New Indian Express had reported that the Japanese agency had refused to release further instalments of money to fund the bullet train project, and had allegedly asked the Indian government to first settle farmers’ protests in the project areas. The report also claimed that the central government had set up a special committee to look into the matter.

The project has faced stiff opposition from farmers and land owners in both Gujarat and Maharashtra. Around 1,000 farmers in Gujarat submitted affidavits to the High Court on September 18, many alleging that their land was being acquired without their consent and they were not being provided any rehabilitation or resettlement package. The petitioners pointed out that environmental and social impact assessment reports for the project date back to 2010, and asked the court to consider the cumulative impact of other projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and express highways in the region.

The bullet train corridor from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is proposed to be an elevated 508-km high-speed rail line meant to benefit diamond merchants, textile traders and other professionals shuttling between the two cities. In the process, the project will cut through at least 312 villages in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, take over 866 hectares of fertile farmland and cut down more than 80,000 trees. The project is slated to cost Rs 1.1 lakh crore, of which the Japan International Cooperation Agency is slated to fund Rs 88,000 crore.