Even though the fate of the Rs 1.1 lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project hangs in balance over land acquisition issues, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assured the state government’s full cooperation in the implementation of Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur and Mumbai-Pune Hyderabad high-speed railway (HSR) corridor. “It is felt that if the Government of India and Government of Maharashtra collaborate on the 701km Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg, the execution of the Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur HSR can be started at the earliest. GoM further proposes that since Mumbai-Nagpur HSR will be within the Samruddhi Mahamarg right-of-way (RoW) up to Jalna, the same may be further extended to Hyderabad,” Thackeray said in the letter.
“GoM has already approved an expressway between Jalna and Nanded. Further, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has already planned an expressway from Nanded to Hyderabad. If the same logic of accommodating the HSR within the RoW of an expressway, as is proposed by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) between Nagpur and Mumbai, the Mumbai-Hyderabad HSR can also be planned along the Mumbai-Nanded expressway via Jalna and further, within the RoW of the proposed expressway between Nanded and Hyderabad,” the CM said. As reported by The Free Press Journal, the Union minister of state for railways, Raosaheb Danve, has announced that he will soon meet Thackeray to pursue the project development.
Thackeray has further suggested the planning of an HSR route between Pune and Aurangabad. “It should be noted that Mumbai-Nagpur connects Mumbai-Nashik-Aurangabad. The present Mumbai-Hyderabad alignment connects Mumbai to Pune on the HSR route. GoM has planned a semi-HSR between Pune and Nashik. An HSR connectivity between Pune and Aurangabad will complete that quadrilateral, which is the most important industrial corridor; the Pune-Nashik-Aurangabad triangle is already the anchor of auto industry in the state,” he said.
Thackeray said, “It is requested that while GoM will accommodate the Mumbai-Nagpur HSR within the RoW of the Samruddhi Mahamarg, GoI should take up Mumbai-Hyderabad via Jalna-Nanded and also the new route between Pune and Aurangabad.”
The state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is the nodal agency for the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg, has pointed out that Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur HSR corridor may be accommodated within the RoW of Samruddhi Mahamarg. The alignment multi-modal corridor from Virar to Alibaug (MMC) has already provided for a metro alignment within the RoW of the expressway and it has been accepted by the NHAI.