The Maharashtra government had sought for an exemption from the process of getting mandatory approvals from acquiring grazing land in Thane and Palghar, which comes in the alignment of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, on 6 March 2019.
The above request is still pending with Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao.
The state government had sought for the exemption on a request from the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL).
The NHSRCL needs over 1.4 acre of grazing land covering four gram sabhas in Thane and Palghar districts and few are not ready to give up grazing land for the project. To deal with the issue NHRCL requested the state revenue department to give exemptions for the project in January 2019.
As per the section 22A of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (MLRC), the state is empowered to acquire grazing land for public and private projects, but needs prior approval of the gram sabhas as per Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas) or PESA Act that regulates the grazing land.
The regulation came into effect following an amendment made in section 22A of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (MLRC) by the governor on 9 May 2017.
The fifth schedule of the Constitution only empowers the governor to take such a decision. The governor can exempt the bullet train project from obtaining mandatory approvals as a special case.
Also, another amendment made in section 36A of the MLR Code that no prior sanction will be needed if the grazing land is purchased with mutual understanding for vital government project.