Home / News / India /  Land acquisition delay may result in phase-wise launch of bullet train

Land acquisition hurdles in Maharashtra could result in phase-wise commissioning of the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

While the Maharashtra government has assured the Centre that more than 80% of the land acquisition would be done over the next four months, Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav on Saturday said that the railway ministry is also prepared to launch the first phase of the project till Vapi, Gujarat, in case there is further delay.

However, the government is trying to launch the entire stretch of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project in one go, Yadav added.

"If the land acquisition exercise is completed in the next four months and tender is invited, then both phases will be commissioned at one-go," he told reporters. Indian Railways will then be able to set the final timeline for the project completion, as it gets clarity in this.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor is being built at a cost of 1.08 trillion, with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The approximately 508km bullet train will traverse through Maharashtra, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Gujarat. The project was announced around five years ago. While the project was slated to be completed in 2022, it has been delayed due to challenges pertaining to land acquisition as well as the outbreak of covid-19.

"In linear projects, we cannot invite tender if land is not acquired. Only if 80-90% land is acquired, then we invite the tenders... if for some reason there is a lot of delay in land acquisition in Maharashtra, then in the first phase, we can commission the project till Vapi, which is about 325km stretch," he said.

As of December, 68% of the total land required for the construction of the project has already been acquired.

Meanwhile, in an official statement, the railway ministry said that 2020 has been a "year of grit and victories" for Indian Railways. "Faced with daunting and unprecedented covid-related challenges, under the guidance and vision of PM, Indian Railways has not only been able to keep national supply chain running and move millions of people back home in most adverse circumstances but has also been able to usher in an unprecedented growth in development of infrastructure, innovation, capacity expansion of network, freight diversification and transparency matters," it said.

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