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.
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.
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.