Coronavirus-induced pandemic is sparing no one and the ambitious Bullet Train project of our country is next on its list. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2023, may fail to meet its deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic that has led to delays in opening tenders and land acquisition, officials said.
The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) has already acquired 63 per cent of the land for the project — about 77% land in Gujarat, 80% in Dadar Nagar Haveli and 22% in Maharashtra. Officials said there are still issues in acquiring land in areas like Palghar in Maharashtra and Navsari in Gujarat.
Last year, the company had floated nine civil work tenders which could not be opened because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
“Because of COVID we had to postpone the opening of a few of the tenders. It is difficult to assess the impact of the pandemic on the project as it is still continuing. We cannot say how the pandemic will affect the project as I don’t know how long it will last,” NHSRCL MD Achal Khare said.
Officially, the NHSRCL spokesperson maintained that the deadline for the project remained 2023.
One of the civil work contracts for construction of stations, bridges, viaducts, maintenance depots, and tunnels across the network is to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore.
Tenders for civil works for 345 kms out of 508 kms alignment, or 68 percent of civil works, have already been floated. This includes six MAHSR stations (including one underground station in Mumbai). The works related to utility diversion are progressing well and the construction of Sabarmati passenger hub (a multi modal hub) in Sabarmati, Gujarat has also started.