Uddhav Thackeray meets Branson, says will study HyperloopUpdated: Dec 13, 2019 00:29 IST
Amid speculations that the new state government could put the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project in the backburner, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson met chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday at the latter’s residence, Matoshree, to “clear misunderstandings” over the project. However, Thackeray said he would study the project first and only then a decision would be taken over its future.
The British tycoon, who’s Virgin Hyperloop One is set to build the world’s first Hyperloop transportation route, apprised CM on the hi-speed project, which aims to cut the travel time between the two cities to 23 minutes.
Branson also clarified that the state would have no financial liability owing to the mega project, which is estimated to cost the exchequer ₹70,000 crore.
Senior government officials said Branson’s team gave a presentation to Thackeray on the project. After the meeting, officials dismissed speculations surrounding the project and said it was on track.
“It was a courtesy visit, during which Richard Branson sought the new administration’s cooperation for the project. He also made it clear that the state would have no financial burden owing to the project. However, the chief minister said that he would study the project and decide. No decision has been taken on it yet,” said an official who did not wished to be named.
In July, the then state cabinet, headed by Devendra Fadnavis, had accorded the project the status of ‘public infrastructure’ to streamline permissions for it. It had also approved the formation of a consortium of two companies, DP World FZE and Hyperloop Technologies, as “proponents” of the project. An 11.80km-long test track is also being constructed between Gahunje and Urse village along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for the project.
However, after the Thackeray-led government came to power last month, several infrastructure projects approved by the previous regime were put under review.
Hyperloop is still-untested high-speed mass transportation concept floated by American entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk.
The proposed Hyperloop system goes along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway between Wakad in Pune and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). The proposed speed on the project is 496 km, which will help commuters travel between the two cities in 23 minutes. An 11.80km long test track is being constructed for the ambitious project between Gahunje and Urse village along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for the Hyperloop project. The state government would have to provide land for the test track and for the main project, if it is commissioned.