Objecting to the Centre’s plans to set up a terminal for the country’s first bullet train on state-owned land in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here, Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra on Thursday said it should instead be built on a land owned by the Railways.
The Rs 65,000-crore project, which proposes a high-speed rail service between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. After taking over reins in Delhi, Modi has put the ambitious project on a fast track.
For the bullet train’s terminal, the Railway Ministry had opted for a state-owned plot in BKC’s G-text block, where prevalent land prices command a premium of over Rs 3 lakh per sq m. However, during a review meeting with Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday, Fadnavis suggested that the terminal could be constructed on vacant lands owned by his ministry near Dadar, Bandra, or Kurla railway stations.
Referring to a report submitted to the Railways by a study group appointed in 1996 to examine commercial use of its land, the state government said, “Both the Central and Western Railways own about 1800 hectare land in Mumbai. Out of which, large tracts of unused land are available at various locations. It is understood that the Railways have around 26 hectare vacant land in Kurla, another 21 hectare in Dadar. A large chunk of unused land is available at the Bandra Terminus.”
In a presentation circulated at the meeting, the state also said: “These sites were ideal for the terminal, since they would also facilitate the service’s connectivity with other long distance terminal stations.”
Maharashtra’s opposition to setting up the terminal on its land in BKC stems from the belief that “such a development would drastically reduce the development potential of the BKC, which is being developed as an international finance and business centre (IFBC).”
Objecting that the state’s opinion was not sought before the terminal’s location was selected, Maharashtra told Centre that the plan needs to be finalised in consultation with it.