September 6, 2020 1:38:27 am
Facing questions over a possible delay in the prestigious bullet train project, the Railways said Saturday it would be able to give a “real assessment” of the project’s timeline only after the acquisition of at least 90 per cent of the land required for it.
“We can say anything about the timeline only after around 90 per cent of total land is acquired. We expect the land acquisition to conclude in Gujarat in three months and in Maharashtra in six months,” Railway Board chairman and CEO V K Yadav told reporters. “Maybe within the next three to six months when this land acquisition issue gets cleared and we are able to get a definite status about it, that will be the real assessment about the timeline of the bullet project.”
The Indian Express had Saturday published a detailed report about the issues that have affected the bullet train project, leading to a possible delay of five years. As per the official timeline, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is scheduled to be completed by December 2023.
Yadav did not say that the project would meet the deadline. “The project is progressing very well,” he said when asked repeatedly about delays. He said the pandemic and the land issues have caused some “setbacks”.
Around 23 per cent of the 430 hectares of land required in Maharashtra has been acquired so far. In Gujarat, the figure is 82 per cent of the around 950 hectares land, he said.
Yadav said Japanese companies did not participate in the tender for the 21-km long tunnel—seven km of it is under sea—and attributed the non-participation to the pandemic. “Both Japanese and Indian companies are interested in participating in the project,” he said.
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