Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Country's First High-Speed Rail Project Gathers Pace As Maharashtra's New Government Clears Hurdles
The Shinde-Fadnavis government has approved multiple pending clearances, including those related to forest and environment, and fast-tracked the project in the state.
With the change in government in Maharashtra, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project has begun to gather pace. The Ministry of Railways has shared the current status of the project on Twitter.
Land Acquisition Status
1) Gujarat: 98.8 per cent
2) DNH: 100 per cent
3) Maharashtra: 75.25 per cent
Progress Of Work
1) 162 km of piling work completed
2) 79.2 km pier work completed
3) Passenger Terminal Hub at Sabarmati is nearing completion.
Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR)
Presently, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail is the only sanctioned high-speed rail project in the country. The project is being executed with the financial and technical assistance from the government of Japan.
The country’s first ‘bullet’ train, a nickname the train gets from its bullet-like shape and speed, will traverse along west India’s landscape, covering 508.17 km distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in just about two hours. This will save time compared to current travel time between the two terminal stations by about nine hours (by bus) or six hours (by conventional railways).
The entire route of Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train will have 12 stations — eight in Gujarat and four in Maharashtra. Gujarat's stations include —Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand/Nadiad, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati, and stations in Maharashtra include Mumbai (BKC), Thane, Virar and Boisar.
Overshooting Project Cost
The project was sanctioned in December 2015 at an estimated cost of Rs 108,000 crore with 80 per cent Japanese funding as an easy loan.
According to a report in PTI, as per the shareholding pattern, the central government is to pay Rs 10,000 crore to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), the implementing agency of the project, while the two states involved — Gujarat and Maharashtra — are to pay Rs 5,000 crore each. The rest is to be paid by Japan through a loan at 0.1 per cent interest.
While the work on the bullet train project has progressed rapidly in Gujarat, it suffered delays under the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, which had labelled the project as "vanity". The lack of political will in the state government meant that bureaucratic clearances and land acquisition for the project were delayed, which led to huge cost escalation, reports say.
"The execution of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail has been delayed especially due to delay in land acquisition in the state of Maharashtra and consequent delays in the finalisation of contracts as well as the adverse impact of COVID-19," Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said in his written reply to a question in Lok Sabha in March.
The new government under Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is now trying to bring the country's first and only high-speed rail project back on track in Maharashtra.
Over the last few weeks, the Shinde-Fadnavis government has approved multiple pending clearances, including those related to forest and environment, and fast-tracked the project in the state.
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