MUMBAI (Metro Rail News): Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project is not in his priority list of major infrastructure projects in Maharashtra said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. He also clarified that the bullet train project has now taken a ‘backseat’. Although, he prefers a bullet train to connect Mumbai to Nagpur rather than Ahmedabad.
“Since the inception of our government no one asked about this project and we have also not discussed it. We will take people-oriented issues that will benefit our Maharashtra. The government is with people of the state,” Chief Minister CM Uddhav Thackeray said.
Chief Minister said that he would like to connect the capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai, to the state’s sub-capital Nagpur.
“There are some people who intentionally make a difference between people of Vidarbha and the rest of Maharashtra. This Mumbai to Nagpur bullet train will help to bridge the gap. Like Samruddhi Mahamarg, the bullet train will compete if the central government revises its plan,” said the Chief Minister.
Chief Minister said that Shiv Sena as a party has always supported the farmers who opposed the bullet train.
Now, we are in power; we will do whatever it takes to support the farmers. In Nanar refinery case, the central government had approved the plan, and some people even offered their land, and the transaction also happened. But the majority of people were against the Nanar, so what happened? We cancelled it, and the same thing will happen with Mumbai to Ahmedabad bullet train.
CM further said that his government is like ‘a three-wheeler auto rickshaw- it is a poor man’s vehicle.’
We don’t need bullet trains, but I will prefer the auto-rickshaw. There were some differences of opinion and communication gap among the ministers due to the COVID-19 situation. But we are back to normal. We are now maintaining regular communication. I also spoke with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
WRMS opposes bullet train project
In Gujarat, The Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) working committee has decided to request the chairman of Railway Board to drop the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project and save Rs 1 lakh crore so that economic health of railways can be recovered.
In the virtual working committee meeting held on Friday, 57 member attendees paid homage to all the railway employees who have died in the Covid-19 pandemic and also denounced the recent move of Western Railway (WR) asking nearly 400 railway families to vacate 21 buildings of suburban section between Churchgate and Virar in Mumbai.
The committee has passed resolutions demanding ex-gratia payment to railway employees who died in Covid-19 pandemic. WRMS general secretary J G Mahurkar highlighted that outsourcing and privatization being done in railway would weaken the railways
Not even 25% of land acquired in Maharashtra
The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHRCL), The executing agency for the Inida’s first bullet train project, has been acquired only 23% of the total land required in Maharashtra. The land needed is 431 hectares and 100 hectares has been acquired.
“In Maharashtra, Only 23% of the land has been acquired while in Gujarat and Dadar Nagar Haveli 70% and 80% of the land required has been acquired,” the spokesperson said.
Out of 508 km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail, 155 km will pass through Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts in the state. Of this, 66 hectares (ha) is government land, 267. 55 ha private land, 97 ha forest land and the rest belongs to the railways. This land is spread across 2,344 plots.
The spokesperson said that a joint measurement survey of land required is almost about to be completed.
Of 100 hectares acquired so far in Maharashtra, 40 per cent of the land is in Thane and 13 per cent in Palghar and 19 per cent in Mumbai.
NHSRCL has floated tenders for civil work for 345 km of 508 km. It includes six stations, including one underground station in Mumbai, 345 km of viaduct construction and 21km-long underground/undersea tunnel. A separate tender for the fabrication of 28 steel bridges has also been floated.
The government had set a deadline for December 2019 to clear land acquisition roadblock but there has been opposition, especially in Maharashtra from tribals and farmers.