Updated: February 6, 2020 7:38:30 am
EVEN AS the Maharashtra government has indicated it may put the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on the back burner, the Union government on Wednesday made an extra budgetary resource (EBR) provision of Rs 5,000 crore for the project through its “Pink Book” released for the financial year 2020-21.
The EPR will include the equity from governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat as well as loan reimbursement from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is financing 80 percent of the project.
Along with the EBR provision, another Rs 5,600 crore has been allocated to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) — the special purpose vehicle that is executing the project.
According to NHRCL officials, it has invited bids for work on 69 per cent of the corridor, which is 348 km of the total alignment of 508.1 km. Of this, 21 km will be underground. Of the 508.1 km, about 155.76 km is in Maharashtra while 348.04 km in Gujarat. The rest, 4.3 km, is in Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
“Out of the 1,380 hectare land required, we have acquired around 740 hectare for the project… in Maharashtra, about 20 per cent land has been acquired and around 300 consent agreements signed,” Achal Khare, NHRCL managing director, said. Tribal villages in Palghar, where about 109.06 km has to be acquired, have opposed the project.
The tender is expected to be finalised this year and physical work is likely to start by the end of 2020. A statement from NHRSCL said, “…Rs 5,600 crore has been allocated to NHRSCL for the year 2020-21. An amount of Rs 5,000 crore has also been allotted as estimated investment through Extra Budgetary Resources (through equity from state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat and loan reimbursement from JICA through Ministry of Finance).
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Tuesday called the project a “white elephant”. While JICA is funding 80 per cent of the Rs 1.08-lakh crore project, Rs 10,000 crore will be paid by the Union government and Rs 5,000 crore each by Gujarat and Manaharastra governments.
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