Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project yet to clear land hurdle
Railway authorities are facing a tough time convincing villagers near Virar to give away their land for the project.mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2017 14:51 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lay the foundation stone for the ambitious bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next month in Sabarmati, Gujarat. However, the project has still not received land clearance from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) terminus.
Railway authorities are facing a tough time convincing villagers near Virar to give away their land for the project.
The land required for construction of an underground station at BKC is still under talks with the MMRDA. The state agency has asked the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) to change certain specifications in the alignment of the station.
Speaking on the issue an NHSRCL official said, “The MMRDA has asked for certain changes in the alignment and the design of the underground station. We are currently studying the changes and will see how it affects the station.”
The issue of land availability continues in Virar, where railway officials were abused when they went to discuss it with villagers.
The railways have now allocated a firm to study the social impact of the project and then assess what could be done. The authorities are also thinking of offering jobs to villagers on station premises once it is built and made operational.
“There have been problems in Virar and Palghar districts as villagers are reluctant to give their land. We have hired a consultant to look into the social impact of the project in the area. We will then decide on giving the villagers jobs after the station is functional,” said a senior NHSRCL official who did not wish to be named.
The bullet train network will be built with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project is expected to cost Rs1,00,000 crore, of which Rs81,000 crore will be loaned from the Japanese firm.
The project is expected to begin by the end of 2018 and completed by 2023.
Meanwhile, the railways has planned 12 stations for the Mumbai - Ahmedabad bullet train service. They are BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
The two maintenance depots will be built in Thane and Sabarmati. The authorities are also planning to link the bullet train with upcoming metros, Central and Western Railway services.
Two types of high-speed train services will operate on the route; one will be a rapid high -speed train and the second, a high speed train.
The rapid high-speed trains will halt at specific stations whereas the high-speed train will have a single halt.
The permitted speed is 350 km/hr but the railways plans on operating the trains at 320 km/hr.
The fare structure of the bullet train will be 1.5 times
the first class AC fare of mail express trains.
According to senior railway officials, the fare of the high speed train will be higher than the Rajdhani and Duronto Express.
“It is too early to decide on the fare structure but they will definitely be higher than the first AC fares of mail express. Fare structures of Rajdhani and Duronto are also being considered,” said a railway board
official on condition of anonymity.