The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has set 2026 as the deadline for carrying out trials on the 50-km Billimora-Surat stretch of the much-touted Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor. However, officials said the trials might get extended to mid-2027.
More than 98.5 per cent of the land required in Gujarat has been procured; on the other hand, the progress in Maharashtra is slow but steady with 44 per cent land having been acquired, mainly in Palghar district. There is not much progress as far as land acquisition in Mumbai and Thane is concerned. There is no clear deadline either for starting the Bullet Train on the entire 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, as officials say it is difficult to give a definite timeline until all the land in Maharashtra and Gujarat has been acquired.
“We are waiting for acquisition of land in Maharashtra to be over and are currently in talks with the state government,” said NHSRCL's Managing Director Satish Agnihotri.
As per the current update on land acquired for India's first Bullet Train project, the NHSRCL has acquired close to 44 per cent of the land in three districts of Maharashtra – Mumbai, Thane and Palghar. Sources said that in Palghar 287 hectares needs to be acquired in all. Of this, 116 hectares remains to be acquired.
Meanwhile, the quantum of land needed in Mumbai and Thane districts is around 432 hectares, comprising forest, private and government land. NHSRCL officials said 44 per cent of the private land and 80 per cent of the government land has been acquired so far, while no forest land has been acquired yet. As of now, there is no clarity of land acquisition in Mumbai and Thane, although things are finally moving ahead in Palghar after a series of protests by the locals.
Meanwhile, in Gujarat, the NHSRCL has managed to acquire more than 98 per cent of the total 352 km of land needed for the project.
On December 26, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited the casting yard at Surat to get an update on the progress by NHSRCL officials. At the yard, 950-tonne girders are being cast, which take 15 days to complete and will be placed on the pillars. Later, another batch of 1500-tonne girders will be put in place, resulting in the toughest pillars and rail girders that will be capable of accommodating bullet trains running at 350 kmph.
In Gujarat, civil work has commenced on a 343-km stretch. Of the total Rs 1.08 lakh crore estimated project cost, Rs 72,000 crore will be spent in Gujarat. The NHSRCL authorities agreed that there could be possibility of the project cost going up and this is being worked out with the Japanese counterparts who are providing technology and support for the multi-crore project.
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