Prabhu out, Goyal in: Will Modi’s Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project get a push?
Known as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has not made much progress due to high cost involved and delay in acquiring landUpdated: Sep 04, 2017 13:12 IST
With Suresh Prabhu out of the ministry of railways and another Mumbaiites Piyush Goyal occupying his place, the big question being asked is – what happens to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
Known as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has not made much progress due to high cost involved and delay in acquiring land.
The Maharashtra government is not keen to hand over land at Bandra-Kurla Complex to build a terminal for the project, as it wants to build an International Finance Centre at the same spot. Villagers in Palghar district are up in arms against acquisition of land for the same.
While Prabhu was in favour of the project, he could not give it a major push. Will Goyal manage to do that?
The estimated cost of the project is Rs1 lakh crore and Japanese agencies are willing to fund it. The foundation stone for the project is likely to be laid in October, apparently in the presence of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Sources in the railways said the project is likely to be a priority for Goyal even as the railways is getting flak for not improving basic infrastructure that has led to a series of accidents involving deaths of a large number of passengers.
“Considering the fact that Goyal is close to PM Modi and the latter wants to launch the project at the earliest, we think the new railway minister will take it up on priority basis,” said a senior railway official.
According to senior railway officials working on the project, a meeting of senior officials from the Central Railway and the National High Speed Rail Corridor (NHSRC) —which is implementing the bullet train project – was held in Mumbai two days before the cabinet reshuffle. Possible changes in the project plan were discussed in the meeting.
“The bullet train project will pass through major areas belonging to both Central and Western Railway and that is the reason that both of them should be equally informed about it. We are also looking at alterations and changes at the moment.” said a senior railway official.