Land acquisition remains the biggest hurdle to timely completion of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. According to the latest project update from the Union Railways Ministry, land acquisition in Maharashtra is still at 75.25%. While Gujarat has acquired 98.8% and Dadra and Nagar Haveli 100% of the land for the project, the Maharashtra bottleneck has emerged as a cause for concern. In Maharashtra, land acquisition had been completed for only 150 hectares of the required 298 hectares until April. After taking office on June 30, the new Maharashtra government of Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis expedited the land acquisition process and granted all clearances for the project in the state.
In its progress report on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor shared on Twitter, the ministry said piling work had been completed on 162 km of the 508.18-km route and pier work on 79.2 km. The passenger terminal hub at Sabarmati, however, is nearing completion.
The bullet train project was initially planned to be completed by 2023, but has witnessed several extensions. It was sanctioned in December 2015 and estimated to cost Rs 108,000 crore with 80% of the funding coming from Japan as an easy loan.
However, with the surge in material cost of steel, cement, and land, the project cost is seen skyrocketing to Rs 1.67 lakh crore, reports suggest. By the time of completion, it could hit Rs 2 lakh crore.
Union Railways Ministry data highlighted the snail’s pace of progress as the ambitious project was delayed by land acquisition. The physical progress was only 20% till May.
The project cost was also affected by the fluctuations of the Japanese currency in the global markets. The implementing agency, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, also has to incur around Rs 20,000 crore due to GST.
The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd has awarded all contracts for construction of bridges, viaduct, stations, and track for the entire 352-km segment in Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
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In Maharashtra, it has invited bids for the Bandra-Kurla Complex Station and cut-and-cover tunnel for one. The first trial is expected to be held between the 49-km Bilimora-Surat section in Gujarat in 2026-27.