Land acquisition continues to be a challenge for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project. According to a progress report by the Ministry of Railways, almost all the land required for the project in Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have been acquired but a quarter of the land needed in Maharashtra is yet to be acquired.

As per the report, 100 per cent of required land in Dadra and Nagar Haveli have been acquired while 98.8 per cent in Gujarat have also been acquired. However, in Maharashtra, just 75.25 per cent of the land required for the project is acquired.

In terms of work progress, the Railway Ministry in a tweet said that 162 km of piling work and 79.2 km of pier work has been finished. Further, the passenger terminal hub at Sabarmati is nearing completion.

The 508 km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project is being executed with the financial and technical assistance from the Government of Japan at a cost of ₹1,08,000 crore.

Starting troubles

The project was expected to be completed by 2023 but delays in land acquisition as well as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the deadline. Sources indicate that the cost of the project has also risen due to delays in its execution as well as price pressures. However, they indicated that it is too early to come out with a revised cost estimate and deadline for completion of the project .

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Lok Sabha last month that, out of the total 1,396 hectare of land required for the project, about 90 per cent of the land, which is about 1,264 hectare has been acquired. “Necessary steps for acquisition of remaining land has been taken up,” he said in reply to a question.

“The execution of MAHSR Project is being reviewed regularly at the highest level. Further, the Ministry of Railways and National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited are also regularly following up the implementation with the State governments for expediting the pending issues for early completion of the project,” he had said.

The entire project work has been divided into 28 contract packages, of which 15 packages have been awarded, four are under evaluation,and Notice Inviting Tender for nine packages has to be published.