March 5, 2021 1:24:55 am
With 95 per cent land being acquired in Gujarat and Rs 32,500 crore worth of tenders already awarded for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) is discussing with its Japanese partner the possibility of operating the high-speed trains in Gujarat in the first phase and later extend it to Maharashtra.
“Running the bullet train in Gujarat is one of the options which we are discussing with our Japanese colleagues… In the next 3-4 months, if we get 70-80 per cent land in Maharashtra then we can open the project at one go. If we do not get the required land in Maharashtra, then we will have to think about opening the Gujarat part of the project in the first phase and the part in Maharashtra in the second phase,” said Achal Khare, managing director of NHSRCL during a virtual interaction with media persons on Thursday.
The Indian Express in February 2021 had reported that 95 per cent of land needed for the project in Gujarat have been acquired, while only 23 per cent of land has only been acquired in Maharashtra. A total of 1396 hectares are needed to be acquired for the 508 kilometer long bullet train project. Of this 956 hectares needs to acquired in Gujarat, 8 hectare in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 432 hectares in Maharashtra.
“The year 2023 was the initial target. Last one year is practically lost because of Covid. There has been certain issues of land acquisition in Maharashtra,” Khare said.
Khare said that the five percent land remaining to be acquired in Gujarat is stuck due to conflicts within families owning the land or because the land owners are living overseas.
The MD of NHSRCL also said that of the 350 kilometers of the bullet train project in Gujarat, tenders worth Rs 32500 crore for 325 kilometers have already been awarded. Gujarat has eight stations, and work for five stations is already awarded. Work of three stations including Ahmedabad, Sabarmati and Vadodara along with 26 kilometers of viaduct are yet to be awarded,” he added.
Testing tracks near Surat
The testing tracks for the bullet trains which will be initially imported from Japan will be made between Bilimora and Surat.
“Our initial attempt is to build a 50 kilometer section at the earliest. We are most likely to target the stretch between Surat to Bilimora. We will use this patch as a testing track for the rolling stock,” Khare said.
Changes in Vadodara
NHSRCL said they have also made changes to the bullet train alignment at Vadodara station which will save the company Rs 2,000 crore. The bullet train terminal which was earlier planned to be built over platform number six at Vadodara railway station, will now be built near platform number seven that is located near the GSRTC bus stand.
“As per the old alignment for Vadodara station, a bridge that will cross 13 railway lines of Indian Railways had to be built near the railway station. Such a big bridge requiring 25,000 metric tonnes of steel has never been constructed in the Japanese Shinkansen High speed network… The Vadodara portion including the station will take at least four years to complete, officials said.
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