Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train to miss deadline, 1st phase between Surat-Bilimora to open in 2026

The 508.17km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, is stuck due to land acquisition issues, mostly in Maharashtra
The 508.17km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor or bullet train project, is stuck due to land acquisition issues, in Maharashtra. (Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
The 508.17km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor or bullet train project, is stuck due to land acquisition issues, in Maharashtra. (Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 29, 2021 08:41 PM IST
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By Aroosa Ahmed, Mumbai

Stuck due to land acquisition issues, the Centre’s Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train corridor or bullet train project is likely to miss its 2023 deadline. Instead, the Railway ministry is now planning to open the first phase of the project on the Surat-Bilimora route in 2026.

Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, on Wednesday in online interaction with media persons, announced that the work on the bullet train corridor project is going on. “The bullet train between Surat and Bilimora will be operated in 2026,” Vaishnaw added.

Vaishnaw added that it is a detailed project and refused to speak further.

The 508.17km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor project, is stuck due to land acquisition issues, mostly in Maharashtra. While the authorities have acquired most of the land required in Gujarat, the farmers in Thane and Palghar are against giving their land for the project. The Railways, through its subsidiary, National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NSRCL), has begun construction where it has already got possession of the land.

The distance between the Surat-Bilimora route is 50km.

The bullet train corridor project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was inaugurated in 2017. The work on the project was initially aimed to be completed by 2023. Land acquisition issues and Covid affected its construction. Later NHSRCL was planning to complete the Gujarat portion of the project by the end of 2024.

The corridor will have stations at Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai (terminal on Mumbai end of the corridor), Thane, Virar, Boisor, Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

Of the 508.17km of the project, 155.76km is in Maharashtra, 384.04km in Gujarat and 4.3km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The estimated cost of the project is 110,000 crore, of which 88,000 crore will be funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Speaking on the land acquisition problems in Maharashtra, Vaishnaw stated that discussions with the Maharashtra government are going on.

“I have discussed the issue with the Maharashtra chief minister and all concerns are being addressed,” added Vaishnaw.

Ruling Shiv Sena has supported the farmers and said it won’t let anyone acquire land without the consent of the farmers.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveying the state government’s willingness to accommodate the proposed Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur high-speed railway corridor along the under-construction Nagpur-Mumbai super communication expressway or Samruddhi Mahamarg.

Thackeray also proposed that the central government should take up the Mumbai-Hyderabad high-speed railway corridor between Jalna and Nanded expressway and requested the railways to build a high-speed corridor between Pune-Aurangabad.

The work on the bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was initially aimed to be completed by 2023. Later the NHSRCL officials had stated that they plan to complete the Gujarat portion of the project by the end of 2024.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021