Bul­let train dead­line ad­vanced to Au­gust 2022

Gov­ern­ment has con­vinced Ja­pan of the 2022 dead­line as In­dia will also host the G-20 Sum­mit the same year.

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

Not­with­stand­ing the hur­dles in ac­qui­si­tion of land, the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment has ad­vanced the dead­line for the coun­try’s first bul­let train project to 15 Au­gust 2022, which marks the 75th year of In­de­pen­dence. Of­fi­cials said that Gov­ern­ment of In­dia has con­vinced Ja­pan of the 2022 dead­line, as In­dia will also be host­ing the G-20 Sum­mit the same year.

Sources said that the Gov­ern­ment plans to put some big ticket projects, in­clud­ing the bul­let train be­tween Mum­bai and Ahmed­abad, on the fast track so as to show­case them when In­dia hosts the heads of the G-20 coun­tries. Ear­lier, the gov­ern­ment had set the dead­line of 2023 to launch the bul­let train.

Dhanan­jay Ku­mar, spokesper­son for the Na­tional High Speed Rail Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (NHSRCL), told The Sun­day Guardian that work has al­ready be­gun on con­struc­tion of the Sabar­mati Ter­mi­nus in Ahmed­abad. He said mea­sure­ment sur­vey of the land for the rail project has been done in nearly 200 vil­lages. “By De­cem­ber-end, ten­ders will be floated for projects worth Rs 1,000 crore, while ten­ders for civil work worth Rs 35,000 crore will be in­vited by March 2019,” he said.

Of­fi­cials said a to­tal of 1,434 hectares of land are to be ac­quired for the 508km bul­let train project. Out of this, 1,032 hectares are pri­vate land where of­fi­cials faced hur­dles. How­ever, with a tight dead­line to meet and fac­ing stern op­po­si­tion from farm­ers of some ar­eas in both the states, es­pe­cially Pal­ghar in Ma­ha­rash­tra, the NHSRCL of­fi­cials have been meet­ing with in­di­vid­ual landown­ers to un­der­stand their de­mands in ad­di­tion to the promised com­pen­sa­tion. Trib­als and fruit grow­ers in Pal­ghar district have ve­he­mently op­posed the land ac­qui­si­tion process for the project.

A team of Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency ( JICA), which has pro­vided soft loan to the In­dian gov­ern­ment for the project, also made a two-day visit to Gu­jarat on 7 and 8 De­cem­ber, to meet the farm­ers af­fected by the project.

Of­fi­cials of JICA, Ja­pan’s state-owned fund­ing agency, vis­ited Su­rat on Fri­day to meet farm­ers, who have been protest­ing against land ac­qui­si­tion. The pro­jectaf­fected peo­ple, in­clud­ing farm­ers and land own­ers, had made rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the JICA on 18 Septem­ber this year, al­leg­ing that land ac­qui­si­tion for the project was be­ing done in vi­o­la­tion of JICA guide­lines and the Cen­tre’s Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act, 2013, and sought the agency’s in­ter­ven­tion.

The bul­let train will run at a speed of 320-350 kmph, and have 12 sta­tions along its 508-km stretch. The cor­ri­dor will be mostly el­e­vated to avoid phys­i­cal hin­drances on the sur­face. The cor­ri­dor will also have 21 km of tun­nel, in­clud­ing 7 km of tun­nel un­der­sea near Thane creek in Mum­bai. The to­tal cost of the project is pegged at Rs 1.08 lakh crore. While JICA will pro­vide Rs 88,000 crore, the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment will fund Rs 10,000 crore. The state gov­ern­ments of Ma­ha­rash­tra and Gu­jarat will pro­vide Rs 5,000 crore each.

PIB

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe at the Tokyo sta­tion to board the Shinkansen bul­let train to Kobe, in Ja­pan on 12 Novem­ber 2016.

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