Maharashtra Plays Spoilsport In Centre's Bullet Train Plans, As Land Acquisition Remains Problematic

Maharashtra Plays Spoilsport In Centre's Bullet Train Plans, As Land Acquisition Remains Problematic  Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
Snapshot
  • Land acquisition in the state of Gujarat has been hassle-free, with 94 per cent of land required already acquired, while Maharashtra has been stalling the project.

Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal has said that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which was likely to be completed in 2023, may see delays due to land acquisition issues in the state of Maharashtra.

“Indian Railways is committed to launch the bullet train in 2023. But there have been massive delays in land acquisition in Maharashtra for the project. I have held talks with the Maharashtra Chief Minister. The Railway Ministry is also in constant touch with Maharashtra government officials,” the Minister said in a virtual press conference.

We are awaiting more details on land acquisition challenges faced, and the government will confirm the new date for likely completion of project, he added.

Land acquisition in the state of Gujarat has been hassle-free, with 94 per cent of land required already acquired, while Maharashtra has been stalling the project.

“Due to the delays in Maharashtra the entire project is being stalled. We have started the tendering process in Gujarat. Tender award of Vapi-Ahmedabad stretch has been initiated. The work will be started soon,” said Goyal.

Data from the National High Speed Rail Ltd. (NHSRL), the undertaking institution for the bullet train project, says 432 hectares of land is to be required in Maharashtra, of which a mere 100 hectares (approx.) has been acquired so far.

Goyal also pointed out that land acquisition has been a bane for railways infrastructure projects, and cited an example of acquisition failure, where a project has been stalling for four decades now.

He also assured that capital expenditure in the railways will see a significant rise this year as Indian railways will spend, Rs 2.15 lakh crore — Rs 1.07 lakh crore from budget allocation and another Rs 1.02 lakh crore from extra budgetary allowances.

Speaking on the budget, he said, “The General Budget 2021 has been historic for Indian Railways. It has focussed on infrastructure projects. The highest capital expenditure for Indian Railways will act as a huge catalyst to revitalise the economy and lead the Indian Railways towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

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