State news

All clearances in place for Mumbai Ahmedabad Bullet Train

By Dilip Chaware

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has issued all clearances to speed up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of Mumbai—Ahmedabad bullet train. The project had been languishing under the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government owing to political considerations. Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis have now ensured that the work will restart forthwith.

The ambitious bullet train project is estimated to cost around Rs.1.1 lakh crore, out of which Rs.88,000 crore will be supplied by Janan’s JICA as a soft loan. Now that it has been held up for over two years, new estimates are being prepared.

The project will require 434 hectares of land in Maharashtra. So far, 200 hectares have been acquired in Palghar district and 110 hectares in Thane district. Another 87 hectares will be required in Palghar and 31 hectares in Thane. The key plot admeasuring 4.82 hectares in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is still to be handed over, needed for developing the terminus. In Gujarat, most of land has been acquired. A small portion needed in the Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli is fully acquired.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is implementing the project, is awaiting the land acquisition since it will be permitted to float tenders for various works only after 90 per cent of the required land is in possession. Till now, about 70 per cent of the land is acquired owing to inaction in this regard in Maharashtra.

The moment Shinde and Fadanvis assumed power, they decided to accelerate various infrastructure developments in the state. The bullet train project was on top of the list. The BKC plot is expected to be transferred to the project by the end of September. Thus, the original deadline of completing the project by 2023 is difficult to achieve but no efforts will be spared to complete the mega project as early as possible, Fadanvis has declared.

Once the project is commissioned, the Mumbai—Ahmedabad journey of 508 km will be over in less than three hours. Various development projects along the bullet train route also will be taken up simultaneously, it is expected.

Dilip Chaware
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.



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