Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Virgin Hyperloop One test site to discuss the technology, which is being explored along the Mumbai-Pune route to bring down travel time from three hours to 25 minutes.
The CM held a meeting with Virgin Hyperloop One CEO and board member Rob Lloyd in Nevada, USA. The purpose of the meeting was to take forward the Maharashtra government’s plan to allow the demonstration and adoption of the technology for the busiest route between Mumbai and Pune to cut down on the travel time.
It was mutually decided to take the project ahead with Virgin Hyperloop One, which is ready to send a team of engineers to Pune in a few months.The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) has already identified the 15-km stretch, where the hyperloop will hold the demonstration track.
The state government has emphasised that 70 per cent of the material and components required by Hyperloop would be sourced from Maharashtra. Thus, indicating that Hyperloop will impart the unique technology and expertise in the project. But the resources would be pooled in from Maharashtra.
In February 2018, Virgin Hyperloop One founder and chairman Richard Branson had visited Mumbai to attend the Magnetic Maharashtra event. He had signed an agreement in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Fadnavis to take up the Mumbai-Pune project.
The state government indicated that a pre-feasibility study on the Mumbai-Pune track had been concluded recently. The state government believed that superfast connectivity between Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and Pune, the Information and Technology hub, would go a long way in easing the traffic hassles and also boost economic investments.
Another aspect which was highlighted related to drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emission up to 1.5 lakh tonne annually. Among the top investors of Hyperloop One leading with Branson includes, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO and Group Chairman of DP World, and Ziyavudin Magomedov, chairman of Summa Group.
The project, which is expected to complete by 2034, is likely to give India a lead in technology, ahead of several other nations such as the US, Middle East and Northern Europe, where Hyperloop services are being worked out. Fadnavis, who is on the two-nation tour to explore investments and further economic ties through mega projects for Maharashtra, also held meeting with Oracle CEO Safra Catz in San Francisco.
According to Fadnavis, “The meeting is part of the ongoing initiative between Oracle and the government to take forward the Digital India and Make In India missions under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Among other subjects discussed included government’s polices related to FinTech, Artificial Intelligence and 0
Catz made the commitment to start advanced data centres in Mumbai. She urged the chief minister to help fast-track investments in data centres. The CM reciprocated positively. It was mutually agreed to set up a joint group on government data for applications of Artificial Intelligence to be enforced in social welfare sectors.
Fadnavis reiterated that government wanted to maximise the applications of Artificial Intelligence in areas and projects, which would bring change in the lives of common citizens. The government is keen on using AI to make administration more accountable and hassle-free for people.
The day marked a series of meeting with Fadnavis holding talks with Sumantec CEO Greg Clark in San Francisc. Maharashtra government’s Information Technology department signed an MoU with Symantec for cyber security, which would entail putting in place a flawless mechanism for cyber policing.
The chief minister proposed setting up of a joint task force with Symantech and Home Department, Government of Maharashtra. It would be a joint venture in capacity building and development of system at district level. The initiative will provide more backup to the cyber labs which are already set up by home department.