The government now has no revised deadline for the completion of the prestigious Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project which was to be completed by the end of 2023, and has blamed the inordinate delay on the government of Maharashtra.
“The project has suffered delay due to adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic and due to poor progress in acquisition and handing over of land in the State of Maharashtra. The State Government of Maharashtra is being regularly followed up at all levels to expedite the acquisition of balance land. The revised timeline for completion of the project can be fixed after the acquisition of complete land in the State of Maharashtra,” the Minister of Railways, Ashwani Vaishnaw, has told the Parliament.
This was in response to two questions from MPs on the time by which the Bullet train project is expected to be completed and commercial train operation can be started. As per the latest status, only 25% of the 432 hectares of land required in Maharashtra for the project has been acquired so far while Gujarat and Daman and Diu have acquired over 96% of the land for the project in their jurisdiction. Overall, 75% of land for the project stands acquired.
Vaishnaw said the Budget Allocation for the project in the current year 2021-22 is Rs 14,000 Cr and expenditure incurred in the current year till date is about Rs 2,090 Cr. The cumulative expenditure on this project till date is 14,153 Cr, the Minister said.
Incidentally, the Prime Minister in a PRAGATI review meeting last year in November had asked the Maharashtra government to acquire and handover all land required for the project by April 30, 2021. Only 22% land was acquired in Maharashtra for the project till then.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has in the past said this project was not a priority one for his government and the Shiv Sena has termed it a vanity project, saying there is already good rail connectivity between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.