Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today said that a new completion schedule for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will be worked out as the original completion deadline of 2023 may not be met due to delay in land acquisition for the project in Maharashtra.
Addressing media persons virtually, Goyal said, "Indian railway was committed to launch the bullet train in 2023. But there have been massive delays in land acquisition in Maharashtra for the bullet train. I have held talks with Maharashtra Chief Minister. The Railway Ministry is also in constant touch with Maharashtra government officials."
"Due to the delays in Maharashtra which was delaying the entire project, we have at least started the tendering process in Gujarat side. Tender award of Vapi-Ahmedabad stretch has been initiated. The work will be started soon," said Goyal.
Goyal added that once there is clarity on the land acquisition for the bullet train project in Maharashtra, the central government will be able to confirm the end date of the project.
According to data from the National High Speed Rail Corporation of India - the railway undertaking implementing the bullet train as well as the other upcoming high speed corridors - Maharashtra has acquired only 101.04 hectares of land out of the total 432 hectares to be acquired in the state for the bullet train project. No land for the project has been acquired till date in the Mumbai suburb out of the total 4.82 hectares needed to be acquired.
In Gujarat, 94 per cent of the land acquisition has been achieved for the project. The state has acquired 901.86 hectares of the total 956.15 hectares needed for the project in the state.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is being funded with loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The total project cost is to the tune of Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
Pointing out the fact that land acquisition is a bane for the railway infrastructure projects, Goyal mentioned about a railway project languishing for about for more than four decades in West Bengal.
Speaking on the budgetary provisions for Indian Railways, Goyal said, "The General Budget 2021 has been historic for Indian Railways. It has focussed on infrastructure projects in Indian Railways. The highest capital expenditure for Indian Railways will act as a huge catalyst to revitalise the economy and lead the Indian Railways towards Atmanirbhar Bharat."
It may be noted that Indian Railways has highest ever total capital expenditure outlay of Rs 2,15,058 crores this year. Of this, Rs 1,00,258 crore is from extra budgetary resources. The ministry has got a gross budgetary support of Rs 1,07,100 crore for capital expenditure allocation given in the General Budget.