Country’s first high-speed rail project gains momentum as new Maharashtra government clears roadblocks
The full Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed train route will have 12 stations – eight in Gujarat and four in Maharashtra. Gujarat stations include —Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand/Nadiad, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati, and Maharashtra stations include Mumbai (BKC), Thane, Virar and Boisar.
Project cost overrun
The project was sanctioned in December 2015 at an estimated cost of Rs 108,000 crore with 80% Japanese funding in the form of an easy loan.
According to a report in PTI, according to the shareholding scheme, the central government is to pay Rs 10,000 crore to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), the executing agency of the project, while the two states involved – Gujarat and Maharashtra – have to pay Rs 5,000 crore each. The rest is to be paid by Japan through a loan at 0.1% interest.
While work on the high-speed rail project progressed rapidly in Gujarat, it faced delays under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, which had branded the project a “vanity”. . Lack of political will in the state government has delayed bureaucratic clearances and land acquisition for the project, leading to huge cost increases, according to reports.
“The execution of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train has been delayed, especially due to the delay in land acquisition in the state of Maharashtra and consequent delays in finalizing the contracts as well as the negative impact of the COVID-19,” said Union Railways Minister Ashwini. Vaishnaw had said in his written response to a question to Lok Sabha in March.
The new government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is now trying to get the country’s first and only high-speed rail project in Maharashtra back on track.
Over the past few weeks, the Shinde-Fadnavis government has approved several pending permits, including those related to forest and environment, and accelerated the project in the state.
Read also : BKC Terminus and more: How the Shinde-Fadnavis government is accelerating the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project in Maharashtra