Mumbai to finally get first bullet train in the city

Jan 11, 2017, 17:22 IST | Shashank Rao

BKC will be the site for proposed station for 350 kmph+ bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad; proposal finally cleared by state government

Illustration/ Ravi Jadhav

The country’s first bullet train seems to have been put back on track. The bone of contention in the R98,000-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, which would see the country’s first bullet train run at 350kmph+, has been sorted out, senior state officials told mid-day. The state has finally agreed to part with 0.9 hectares of land at BKC for the station. 

This is a big development for the project that was stuck since its announcement two-three years ago as the Indian Railways and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority were fighting over a piece of land at BKC.

“We have agreed to part with a 0.9-hectare plot at BKC,” said a senior bureaucrat. This plot is in G-block, which is among the prime locations and is surrounded by several banks, restaurants and commercial offices.

The MMRDA claimed that they had asked the state government to take a call on the BKC land issue. “The decision is with state government now. We have given our views…” MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan told mid-day.

For months, there had been a dispute between the state and railways on this parcel of land – MMRDA had wanted to set up an International Finance Centre (IFSC) on it, while the railways told the state to construct the IFSC underground with the BKC Metro station on top of it. Besides this, the railways have also asked for 4.5 hectares of space under the 0.9-hectare plot. Sources said fulfilling the demand for 4.5 hectares would be a difficult task.

This bullet train is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project. Sources in the Indian Railways said that at present they haven’t received any intimation about it and that the MMRDA is worried that there would be issues during the construction of the IFSC. “We have already given our views to the Maharashtra government that there shouldn’t be any problem if either of it [the station or the IFSC] comes underneath,” said a senior railway official.

The Indian Railways also wants Maharashtra to bear 25 per cent of the capital expenditure for the project. The proposed bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will have to ferry up to 1,10,000 passengers daily or undertake 100 trips daily for the railways to keep it financially viable. The IFSC is expected to cover 50 hectares, instead of the previous proposal that said 38 hectares.

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