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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

After bullet train review, Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project likely to be scrutinised, say political observers

Former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who is likely to get inducted in the new Thackeray cabinet, said, “I had earlier raised doubts about the hyperloop.”

pune Updated: Dec 05, 2019 16:09 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Hyperloop is high-speed travelling mode, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a tube at a speed which is more than the usual airline speed.
Hyperloop is high-speed travelling mode, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a tube at a speed which is more than the usual airline speed.(HT FILE PHOTO)
         

With the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government reviewing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train due to stiff opposition from farmers, the Maharashtra government’s ambitious Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project is likely to come under scrutiny as well, according to political observers.

The mega project had been approved by then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who is likely to get inducted in the new Thackeray cabinet, said, “I had earlier raised doubts about the hyperloop. I am doubtful about its technology, financial impacts and operations. We need to see if this is a priority. We will be asking the government for official information about the project next week and will discuss the project and its feasibility with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar soon.”

Chavan had raised various objections when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was in power in Maharashtra. Chavan added that this is a new technology and human transportation using the method has not been tested anywhere in the world till now.

With the chief minister eager to priortise important projects and review controversial ones approved by the Fadnavis government in the past six months, it is likely that the hyperloop project will be reviewed as a senior Congress leader like Chavan, is rasing the issue, said a political observer on condition of anonymity.

Apart from the Congress leader, the project has also faced massive opposition from NCP leader Ajit Pawar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Pawar opposed the project during an election campaign rally and Thackeray had said earlier that no one from the two cities, wants to travel so quickly.

The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) is executing the hyperloop project. The PMRDA had already appointed Virgin Hyperloop One to execute the project and awarded the work to do a 15-km demonstration track, which would be the world’s longest track.

PMRDA officer Vivek Kharwadkar, said, “The agency has been fixed for the hyperloop project and it is expected that they will submit the DPR (detailed project report) soon.”

PMRDA also earmarked land where the hyperloop project will go through, parallel to the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.

Future of transportation

- Hyperloop is high-speed travelling in tubes, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a tube at a speed which is more than the usual airline speed.

- The Maharashtra government is exploring the transportation technology (hyperloop) for the Pune-Mumbai route with an aim to reduce the travel time to just 25 minutes each way

- Virgin Hyperloop One has completed the pre-feasibility study for the Pune-Mumbai route

- The hyperloop will be able to move 10,000 passengers an hour and 150 million passengers a year once fully operational, said the Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One chairman

- It is capable of reaching speeds up to 1,000 kmph and will also connect the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai airports.

- Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took initiative for this project and visited the US to inspecting the project and track.