High speed rail: Piyush Goyal takes a dig at state govt over delay in land acquisition

The construction of India's first high speed rail project has not only hit rough roads but has also taken a political turn. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday took a dig at the Maharashtra government for the delay in land acquisition for the 508 km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail and has hinted that it could come up on Vapi-Ahmedabad section only in the first phase.

Goyal was talking about the Union Budget 2021-22 for which the Indian Railways received Rs 1.10 lakh crore. When asked about the multiple bullet train lines proposed, Goyal mentioned about the first proposed line on Mumbai-Ahmedabad section that is stranded in Maharashtra due to issues with land acquisition.

"We are in touch with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for land acquisition. Our deadline is 2023. In any case work on Vapi-Ahmedabad stretch is underway. The Maharashtra government should be asked about what are they doing for land acquisition for this project," said Goyal in an online press conference on Thursday.

In Maharashtra, the government has acquired 23 percent of land with major problems in Dahanu where the locals are against the project. However in Gujarat, the government has managed to acquire 94 percent of land. Moreover, in this Union Budget, funds to the tune of Rs 7,897 crore have been allotted for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

Meanwhile, the Central government is looking at two new lines Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur and Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad. Surveys are being done for 741 km long high-speed rail corridor from Mumbai to Nagpur via Nashik. And Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad of 711 km is also being surveyed.

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