One section of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail corridor is likely to be tendered out within three months after nearly 90% of the land acquisition for the project is completed, according to railway board chairman VK Yadav.
Indian Railways has so far completed 76% of land acquisition in Gujarat and 24% in Maharashtra; overall 60% of land acquisition for the ambitious Bullet Train project has been completed, Yadav said in an interview. “In any mega project, the first thing we do is land acquisition and then we finalise the alignment. We have completed the alignment and designs. As on date, we have acquired 60% of the land. There was some slowdown in land acquisition, due to Covid situation but it has started picking up now and we are sure over the coming six months, most of the land will be acquired.”
Railways said last month that the high-speed rail corridor is expected to be completed on time despite the Covid-19 outbreak. The project connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad has a deadline of December 2023.
“In mega projects we go for tendering only when 90% of the land is acquired. We will be going ahead when we acquire some more land and a complete uninterrupted stretch of land is available. Project is progressing well. We will be going ahead with tendering within three months,” Yadav said.
The project implementing agency National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), has also begun floating tenders for related civil works.
Meanwhile, the national transporter has begun feasibility studies on seven other potential high-speed corridors to gauge their financial viability and estimated traffic they will attract. Yadav said Indian Railways was exploring whether the corridors would be viable to run high-speed Bullet Trains with speeds above 300 kmph.
The seven proposed corridors are Delhi -Varanasi, Varanasi- Howrah, Delhi – Ahmedabad, Mumbai– Nagpur, Mumbai – Hyderabad, Chennai – Mysore and Delhi –Amritsar.
“We are working on seven high-speed corridors and four freight corridors. The normal time taken for a Detailed Project Report is one year. At this point of time I can say feasibility study has begun and we will be completing the feasibility studies of all these sections in one year, that is by July 2021,” Yadav said.
“The feasibility report will give the answer to see which corridor will be suitable for Bullet Train speeds of 300-350 kmph or semi-high speed, ie 200-250 kmph,” he added.