Hope to achieve target of operating 1st bullet train in 2026: Railway Minister

Construction work of the Surat bullet train station will be completed by 2024.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Monday, June 06, 2022, 08:21 PM IST
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Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw inspected casting siding of bullet train project at Navsari | Photo: File Image

Days after Deputy CM of Maharastra Ajit Pawar 'supported' the bullet train project, minister of railway Ashwani Vaishnaw alleged that the Maharastra government does not have the willpower for the Mumbai-Ahmadabad bullet train project. However, Vaishnaw is fully confident that the first bullet train in the country between Surat and Billmora will run in 2026.

"There has been good progress in the construction of infrastructure for the bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and the work is being done at a high speed," said the railway minister on Monday.

"We are keeping the target of running the first bullet train between Surat and Bilimora in 2026. The progress is very good, and we are confident of running the train by that time," he added.

Construction work of the Surat bullet train station will be completed by 2024. Apart from that, work on three more stations- Vapi, Bilimora and Bharuch also going on in full swing and are likely to be complete by 2024.

"Civil work of bullet train project in Gujrat in full swing. Every month around 300 pillars are being erected covering a distance of around 12 km," Vaishnaw said.

Asked about the progress of the bullet train project in Maharashtra, Vaishnaw said that it was slow due to land acquisition issues adding that Maharashtra should work with the spirit of cooperation and collaboration on the project.

Earlier in June, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar told reporters in Mumbai, "More than 80% of the bullet train work is complete. I think we should have made something else instead of the bullet train but now as the majority of the work is completed, I think the project should not be stopped."

"This is a national project and there should not be any politics over it," he said.

Speaking about the progress in Maharashtra, Vaishnaw said, "I believe we would set an example of working together on this project...The progress (in Maharashtra section) is slow but we hope there will be more progress." He added, "At the same time, the 352 km section in Gujarat is also sufficiently long. The focus will remain on Gujarat until the work of land acquisition in Maharashtra is completed."

"In Gujrarat, 98.8% of the land is already acquired and a hundred per cent in Dadra Nagar Haveli. However, in Maharastra, we still need around 29 per cent of the land for the project. This portion (which need to be acquired) of land belongs to the forest department," said an official adding that out of the total 1,396-hectare land required for the project, 1,260.76 hectares, or 90.31 per cent, has been acquired.

At 954.28 hectares, Gujarat accounts for the majority of the land required for the project, covering eight districts of Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Kheda, and Ahmedabad. Of this, 942.72 hectares have been acquired.

In Maharashtra, the project covers Mumbai, Thane and Palghar, requiring 433.82-hectare land, out of which 310.14 hectares have been acquired so far, and 123 hectares of land is still needed.

On Monday, the railway minister was in Surat where he inspected the operation of a segmental casting yard of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor near Vaktana village in Choryasi taluka of Surat and later visited the under-construction Antroli railway station.

After that, he visited the project site at Nasilpore in Navsari along with Minister of State for Railways Darshana Jardosh Jardosh. Asked about the progress of the bullet train project in neighbouring Maharashtra, Vaishnaw said it was slow due to land acquisition issues, adding that Maharashtra should work with the spirit of cooperation and collaboration on the project.

In Gujarat and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, 100% of Civil and Track contracts for the construction of the route i.e. 352 kms have been awarded to Indian contractors.

The works on piles, foundations, piers, pier caps, casting & erection of girders for viaducts & stations have started in full swing along the alignment passing through 8 districts of Gujarat.

Design and Geotechnical Investigation

Out of 352 km, detailed Geotechnical Investigation (GTI) work (100m interval) has been completed in 350 km length. Based on detailed GTI, Good for Construction Drawings have been developed for 200 km length.

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