Bullet train may pose hurdles for Mumbai’s financial hub

The bone of contention is that Maharashtra has already designated the same land parcel for setting up the IFSC.

Written by Sandeep Ashar | Mumbai | Published:January 10, 2017 6:13 am
bullet train, bullet train mumbai, mumbai ahmedabad bullet train, modi pet project, pm modi, narendra modi, prime minister, maharashtra chief minister, devendra fadnavis, IFSC, International Financial Services Centre, maharashtra gujarat bullet train project, bullet train in india, bandra kurla complex, BKC, mumbai news, maharashtra news, india news, indian express Photo for representational purpose.

The proposed Rs 98,000-crore bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai may pose hurdles in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s plans to construct an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Bandra Kurla Complex or BKC. Just as the central government wants Maharashtra to share a portion of the land designated for the IFSC in BKC for the bullet train project, senior bureaucrats from Maharashtra have cautioned the chief minister that such an arrangement may impact the construction of the IFSC itself. The bullet train project is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project.

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According to sources, the railways have approached Maharashtra with a proposal for allotment of 0.9 hectare of land in the G-text block at the BKC for building a station for the bullet train. It also wants the state government to permit it to utilise 4.5 hectare space underneath the same land parcel for the project.

The bone of contention is that Maharashtra has already designated the same land parcel for setting up the IFSC.

Top sources in the Maharashtra government confirmed the state bureaucracy’s advisory was one of the main reasons for deferring a proposal for allotment of the land to railways, which was brought before the state Cabinet on January 2.

The bone of contention cited by senior state bureaucrats is that restrictions will become applicable on the construction activity once the portion of the land is notified for the bullet train project under the Railways Act, 1989. The central Act restricts construction activity within 30 metres on either side of railway corridors, a senior official pointed out.

Senior bureaucrats in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, which is overseeing the IFSC project, have also expressed apprehension that curbs could be placed on the extent of the floor space index to be used for the state’s project.

Following the cautionary note, Fadnavis, confirmed sources, has decided to seek a “written assurance” from the railways that it shall not raise objections regarding construction for the IFSC. Sources added that the chief minister also wants to elicit a commitment from the Union ministry for planning another bullet train project between Mumbai and Nagpur, confirmed sources. Besides allotment of the land, the Centre wants Maharashtra to bear 25 per cent of capital expenditure for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

Sources said the state is also pushing for a prior nod from the Union Ministry of Commissioner for the IFSC. With the Centre declining the state’s previous proposal for declaring the BKC land as a Special Economic Zone since it did not meet the minimum area requirement, sources said a revised proposal has been sent. “The IFSC will now be spread over 50 hectare, which is the minimum area required for an SEZ. The previous proposal was for an IFSC over 38 hectare,” said a senior state official.

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  1. A
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:31 am
    Do not think it is practical and will cost Modi votes. First improve safety of non VIP (Rajdhani , Shatabdi, etc.)trains.
  2. B
    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:58 am
    Think all the projects in totality not in isolation. All these years our politicians have done these ber, every work seen in its vote bearing angle not on economic value.
  3. K
    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:39 am
    Fire these negative people and use the land area wisely by building multiple storey buildings with world cl facilities, it should serve every fare payer with good clean, safe and secure environment to conduct business and travel on time. There are too many people with rubber stamps in their hands whose palms need to be greased, stop these rogues from taking over the projects.
  4. N
    Niladrinath Mohanty
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:18 am
    Bullet train idea is a fad of Narendra Modi. It may be a good idea for a later period but the present priority should be to improve as quickly as possible the present system in a resource crunch country.
  5. A
    Jan 10, 2017 at 5:06 am
    Bullet train...wastage of public money...use that money to improve the existing rail Infrastructure....
  6. S
    Sashi Pillai
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:46 am
    Absolutely right bullet train is a fad with that money improve the present railway system.
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