Govt to rethink on bullet train project, it’s White Elephant: CM Uddhav Thackeray

The JICA inked an agreement with the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India on September 18, 2018

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Bullet Train

MAHARASTRA (Metro Rail News): The chief minister of Maharastra, Uddhav Thackeray has termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pet Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project a “White Elephant”.CM Udhhav Thackery has indicated that his government need to reformulate about the project.

“I feel we need to sit and discuss it…Who will benefit from a bullet train?… How many businesses and industries are going to be benefited?… Please explain….we will go before the public and decide what to do,” Thackeray said.

He also said in an interview to Marathi daily Saamana and Hindi tabloid Dophar ka Saamana – both mouthpieces of his party, Shiv Sena. “We have to prioritise the developmental work of the state…we have to look at the economic situation and carry out development.”
The officials of the Ministry of Railways in New Delhi said that they had not received any communication from the State Government about halting the bullet train project. The officials also stated that the Ministry of Railways was in touch with the Maharashtra Government the process of taking land was expected to be over soon.

India’s first National high-speed rail project was to be built with Shinkansen Bullet Train technology of Japan with 81% of the estimated investment to be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as a soft loan.

“If someone gives a loan without interest or loan with minimal interest, that does not mean we take it…and snatch land from farmers….after all this is a white elephant and no need to have it,” CM said.

while intimated that the bullet train was “dream project” of Prime Minister, he said: “It may be dream project… but once you wake up, the reality is before you… the reality is not dream.”

The JICA inked an agreement with the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India on September 18, 2018, pledging a soft loan of 89,547 million Japanese Yen (approx. Rs 5,500 Crore) for the project.

The two sides discussed the High-Speed Rail-Link project when Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had met in Bangkok on the sideline of the East Asia Summit on November 4 last year. To speed up its implementation Abe had requested Modi for his personal intervention. It was expected to discussed again during The two Prime Ministers annual summit in Guwahati in December. But the summit was indefinitely postponed, due to widespread protest in the north-eastern region against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The initial task to build the high-speed rail corridor could start from Gujarat where the acquisition of land had not to meet any resistance officials of the Ministry of Railways in New Delhi said.

The National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) is performing the project.

The 508.17 km long bullet train track will cover 155.64 km distance in Maharashtra, 2 km distance in Dadra & Nagar Haveli and 350.53 km distance in Gujarat. The 12 stations on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project are Bandra-Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Baroda, Anand/Nandiya, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. Before reaching Mumbai the train will cross Palghar and Thane districts of Maharashtra.

The project required 1,380 hectares of land. 1,005 hectare was private land of which we have acquired 471 hectares. 149 hectare was state government land of which we have got 119 hectares. The remaining is 128 hectare which is railway land which has been given to the high-speed corporation,” earlier Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said.

Yadav also said that five bids for civil engineering work which includes track work and tunnels will be opened in March and finalised within six to eight months thence.

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