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Land for Bullet train project: Tendering to start within three months, says Rly board chief

New Delhi: One part of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail hall is probably going to be tendered out within three months after almost 90% of the land acquisition for the challenge is accomplished, in accordance to railway board chairman VK Yadav.

Indian Railways has thus far accomplished 76% of land acquisition in Gujarat and 24% in Maharashtra; total 60% of land acquisition for the formidable Bullet Train challenge has been accomplished, 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…Due to Covid situation there was some slowdown in land acquisition, but it has started picking up now and we are sure over the coming six months, most of the land will be acquired,” he said.

Railways said last month that the high-speed rail hall is expected to be accomplished on time regardless of the Covid-19 outbreak. The challenge connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad has a deadline of December 2023.

The challenge has had to cope with points starting from protests by landowners to rising prices due to a widening hole between the Indian rupee and the Japanese yen; 80% of the Rs 1 trillion wanted to fund the challenge will come from a 20-year Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) mortgage.

“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 challenge implementing agency National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), has additionally begun floating tenders for associated civil works.

The nationwide transporter has begun feasibility research on seven different potential high-speed corridors to gauge their monetary viability and estimated site visitors they may entice. Yadav said Indian Railways was exploring whether or not the corridors can 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.

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