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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

No word from Maharashtra government on bullet train review, say NHSRCL officials

mumbai Updated: Dec 03, 2019 00:31 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed

A day after chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray ordered a review of all ongoing development projects, including the ₹1.1-lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) officials, who did not wish to be named, said they have not received any intimation about it from the state.

NHSRCL is nodal agency for the construction of the 508-km of high-speed transport system, considered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. The corridor aims to reduce travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to less than two hours, from the current eight hours.

While the corporation refused to comment on the state’s review decision, NHSRCL officials said it will not cause any hindrance in the work. “The project is on and tender finalisations are being done. The decision to review the project will not cause a roadblock. The state government will be briefed about the status check as and when they require. That will be brought to our notice by the railway ministry,” said a senior NHSRCL official, on condition of anonymity.

Union railway minister Piyush Goyal could not be reached for a comment on the CM’s review decision.

Of the total 508km distance, 156km will pass through Maharashtra, and 348km will be in Gujarat. In Maharashtra, NHSRCL has acquired land parcels at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Thane and Bhiwandi till now. A tender for the development of a station at BKC is also expected to be floated soon. NHSRCL, which is owned jointly by the Union government and the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments, requires land at BKC, Vikhroli, Thane and Palghar district in Maharastra for the high-speed rail corridor.

The project has been facing stiff opposition from famers in Thane and Palghar districts over land acquisition. Of the 1,400 hectares of land required for the project, 353 hectares has to be acquired in Maharashtra.

In the 2019-2020 Union budget, the Centre allocated ₹10,000 crore for land acquisition for the project. “The construction cost of the project will be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency at a nominal interest rate of 0.1% with a repayment period of 50 years, including a moratorium of 15 years,” said an NHSRCL official.