Officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is partially funding the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, have agreed to meet farmers opposing land acquisition, reported PTI.

Anand Yagnik, a lawyer representing the protesting farmers in the Gujarat High Court, on Wednesday said, “The JICA today formally acknowledged in a written communication that it has received the petition, and stated that soon it will arrange a meeting between JICA officials and farmers.”

On Monday, farmers from Surat, Valsad and Navsari districts in Gujarat filed 40 new petitions in the Gujarat High Court challenging the process of land acquisition for the project. On September 18, around 1,000 farmers submitted affidavits to the High Court opposing the project. Similar petitions were filed in June as well.

The state government has told the court that the problems with resettlement are minimal as the width of land to be acquired is just 17.5 metres. The Centre has not filed its affidavit yet.

About 1,400 hectares of land in Gujarat and Maharashtra, of which 1,120 hectares are privately owned, need to be acquired for the project. Around 6,000 land owners will need to be compensated. Farmers have said earlier that most of them are not ready to part with their land.

The project is slated to cost Rs 1.1 lakh crore, of which the Japan International Cooperation Agency will fund Rs 88,000 crore.

Earlier, the farmers had said they would consider approaching courts in Japan as well, claimed Yagnik. “We want to meet them this week or by latest next week,” the lawyer told DNA. “Our petition, to be filed in Japanese court, is ready.”

Jayesh Patel, president of farmers’ body Gujarat Khedut Samaj, said they were against the land acquisition. “We had told JICA that human rights are being violated in the process of acquiring land,” he said. “Farmers opposing the acquisition are being detained.”