Claiming that an estimated Rs 17,000 crore will be spent for Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Achal Khare, Managing Director of National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) Thursday said 45 per cent of the total 1,380 hectares needed for the project has been acquired, which includes 360 hectares in Gujarat.
Khare, who was visiting Ahmedabad, said, “Till yesterday, 622 hectares of land has been acquired for the project, of which 360 hectares are in Gujarat.” An estimated Rs 1,800 crore has been paid in compensation to private landowners in Gujarat. “In Gujarat, we need to acquire 5400 private plots. Consent agreements for 2,600 plots have been signed and payments have been made. So we have acquired 360 hectares of private land costing an estimated Rs 1800 crores,” said the managing director while interacting with mediapersons at the NHSRCL office in the city.
He said that among the eight districts in Gujarat, where land is being acquired, over 70 per cent has been completed in Vadodara and 60 per cent in Ahmedabad. “I am happy to say that all of the acquisition that has happened until now is through consent. Not one plot has been taken through compulsory acquisition,” Khare remarked. He said as per the current assessment, R&R including land acquisition will cost Rs 17,000 crore. “This is our assessment which can change as the compensation amounts are finalised,” the official remarked.
Compensation for ONGC in Gujarat
NHRCL will be paying about Rs 25 crore as compensation to ONGC for capping five oil wells that fell on the proposed bullet train route. Punit Agarwal, Chief Project Manager (Systems) said, “Three of the five oil wells that were infringing the NHSRCL alignment at Nandej have been capped. The rest will be capped by September 2019. About 1600 electric utilities, including 150 extra high voltage lines that passed across the proposed alignment, will also be shifted. The oil and water pipelines of the ONGC are also being relocated.”
Land acquisition in Maharashtra
Claiming that NHSRCL has got good success in Maharashtra, Khare said, “Maharashtra has 97 villages covering Palghar and Thane. In Maharashtra too we have got good success. Among the 97 villages, only 17 villages are left where joint measurement survey – which is one of the first steps towards land acquisition – has not happened. We have done 41 sale deeds in Palghar and 97 have been done in Thane. So work has started there too, though work is lagging there in comparison to Gujarat.”
Beginning of civil works
Stating that NHSRCL was working with the deadline of December 2023 in mind, the official said tenders for four major packages for civil works worth Rs 50,000 crore have been floated and will be finalised by November 2019. This
includes the tender for an estimated Rs 20,000 crore worth of civil works for the 237 kilometer-long section between Vapi and Vadodara which will also include the construction of four stations of Vapi, Bilimora, Surat and Bharuch. The second tender is the 87-kilometer section between Ahmedabad and Vadodara and the third tender is for the undersea tunnel in Maharashtra.
High-Speed Rail stations at Sabarmati and Ahmedabad will be integrated with existing western railway stations. The station at Ahmedabad will be on the Saraspur side of the city and will be located over existing platforms 10,11
and 12 of the western railway. Meanwhile, Sabarmati will have the biggest maintenance depot (among Surat and Thane) and will house the operation control centre and passenger hub that will connect metro rail, and Indian railway passengers with the bullet train. Officials said that before the commencement of civil works, existing structures – like CONCOR depot, Flash Butt welding workshop, bridge structure workshop and store depot at Sabarmati, and 1000 kilometers of signalling cables at Kalupur station in Ahmedabad – were being shifted.
Khare said the bullet train project will provide employment to 25,000 people during the construction phase and 3500 people will be employed by NHSRCL during the operational and maintenance phase. “There are a lot of possibilities of indirect employment. The estimate is that indirect employment will be four times the direct employment. This indirect employment is usually grabbed by locals.”
Trees to be transplanted
NHRSCL officials said 4000 trees that lie on the bullet train’s route will be transplanted in Ahmedabad. Of this 34 have already been shifted. In the entire route, NHSRCL plans to transplant about 25000 trees.