At one end of the town in Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, at a 74-acre materials depot of Western Railway, horticulturists and engineers are busy using an imported transplantation machine to relocate full grown trees. This is to clear the way for the main maintenance depot of India’s first bullet train project that will come up there.
There are around 2,500 trees in the decades-old, lush green campus and NHSRCL is trying to relocate all of them, some along the boundary of the site. Between uprooting and replanting comes a process to apply anti-fungal chemicals to the roots. “This is a pilot project to relocate as many trees as we can,” Dhananjay Kumar, NHSRCL spokesman told The Indian Express.
How many will be relocated eventually and how many will face the axe will depend on the success of the pilot and if things look viable in terms of time taken, and money and manpower deployed, then tree transplantation, and not axing, will be the preferred norm during the construction of the entire 508-km corridor from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Made by the firm Big John of USA, these truck-chassis mounted machines with hydraulic lifters and excavators are popularly called “Tree spade” and are used to relocate trees where traditional methods of transplantation would be time-consuming and expensive.
The 74-acre campus is currently heavily protected by the Railway Protection Force guarding railway scrap worth an estimated Rs 50-100 crore. When the high-tech maintenance facility comes up here, a lone Shiva temple will be the only surviving structure from the current materials depot. Officials said the temple will stay, while the materials depot will shift to a Kendriya Vidyalaya land near Sabarmati.
A part of the campus houses a container facility of Railway PSU Container Corporation of India (Concor). To secure the 74-acre campus, NHSRCL is making a brand new depot for Concor at the other end of the town near Gandhinagar next to the Adani city called Shantigram.
Labourers and heavy lifting machinery are at work here as the structure of the depot is taking shape. Tender for the work was awarded in June this year and the depot will come up by February. “Making the Concor depot is also crucial for us to clear space for our maintenance depot,” Kumar said.
All these places constituting the Ahmedabad stretch of the bullet train project, has work in full swing. The contractor has even started survey to build the viaducts of the main corridor while bids for the tender to build the first terminal in Sabarmati will be opened on October 5. Land for this multi-modal terminal belongs to Railways.
The cost will be around Rs 200 crore and will be complete by May-June 2021. Consisting of a 10 storey building, a seven storey one and three smaller structures, this will be the interchange point for bullet train, railways, Ahmedabad metro, and bus rapid transit system. The first-floor concourse will have the interchange points while the skyscrapers will host a hotel, malls and office complexes.