Eknath Shinde helps Bullet Train project gain speed


Photo credit Ministry of Railways

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, February 28: The change in the government in Maharashtra with Eknath Shinde succeeding Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister has brought good fortune for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor, popularly called the Bullet Train project. The flagship India-Japanese partnership project has now clinched 99.75 per cent land acquisition, with pace gaining after the ouster of Thackeray from power in Mumbai.

“We are left with just 0.25 per cent of the land that needs to be acquired. The piece is non-contentious and a mere formalities remain to wrap up the acquisition. That will mark 100 per cent land acquisition for the bullet train project,” said a senior official in the National High Speed Rail Corporation.

A top ranking official in the Central government also stated that land acquisition is almost near completion in Maharashtra, with a few tiny patches remaining to be wrapped up. “The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 has helped several critical infrastructure projects complete the process of acquiring land with good speed,” said the official.

The Bullet Train project already had acquitted 100 per cent of the required land in Gujarat and Daman and Diu. But the project had run into a rough weather in Maharashtra where the officials in the corporation alleged that the Thackeray government wasn’t cooperative enough to help with the land acquisition process. “The Corporation has consent for the acquisition of land in 99.75 per cent of the cases, and now the process of pending physical delivery will commence for the remaining land parcel,” added the official.

The corporation also stated that the Supreme Court verdict in its favour last week on a litigation with Godrej industries for a tiny piece of land has brought pace in the execution of the project. “Till Thackeray headed the Maharashtra government, the corporation had acquired only 80 per cent of the required land in the state, while physical possession was only 72 per cent,” said the official.

The corporation is now aiming to go for trial run on Billimora stretch of 50 kms in 2026-27 even while the project is running late. It was earlier stated to meet the 2023 timeline. The project is majorly funded by Japan. “Pillars for 200 kms in Gujarat have already been built, while tendering for civil works has been completed. Technical bids for tunnel works have also been floated,” said the official.

Incidentally, the bullet train project is being keenly monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is expected to help the Railways gain technical know-hows.

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