Rahul M wrote:looks like a train b/w uzb & afg. what's the relation with IR ?
I saw it too and wondered the same but IANS is a reputed news agency onlee.
Maybe the jokers made a mistake.
Bullet train project on fast track! Pre-construction activity for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail picks speed
Pre-construction activity like shifting of utilities and acquisition of land is underway, with work likely to start by April 2020.
With trains being run every half an hour between 6 am and 12 am, 24 bullet trains would have to be procured from Japan.
Aiming to make the Rs 1.08-trn Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project operational by December 2023, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) has put pre-construction work for the 508-km-long High-Speed Rail (HSR) line on the fast track. In what has come as a boost, the Gujarat High Court recently dismissed 100 odd pleas challenging the land acquisition process for the project.
NHSRCL, the implementing agency for India’s first HSR project, has decided to start construction work on the green zone (cleared land) by April 2020, with the tendering process having been initiated. Says Achal Khare, managing director of NHSRCL, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by the Ministry of Railways and Gujarat and Maharashtra governments, “Pre-construction activity is in full swing. Shifting of utilities like cables, oil wells and other structures, apart from 25,000 trees, enroute the project corridor has been taken up on war-footing.”
The corridor has been divided into 27 segments across Gujarat and Maharashtra. Out of these, tenders for nine major segments worth around Rs 50,000 crore have been invited and are likely to be awarded in the next few months. Tenders for the remaining segments will be awarded by the end of the current fiscal, Khare says, adding, “massive civil works will need to be carried out since over 90% of the line between Sabarmati and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai is elevated.”
From the BKC where it would begin, the corridor would extend 21 km underground before it reaches Thane. Of this 21-km tunnel, 7 km would be undersea, a choice made to avoid damaging vegetation in the area. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would fund nearly 80% of the project through a 50-year loan, with the remaining cost being borne by Gujarat and Maharashtra.
In all, there would be 12 railway stations on the line including the terminuses: Sabarmati in Ahmedabad and BKC in Mumbai. Of these, Sabarmati, Kalupur (Ahmedabad station), Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Bilimora and Vapi are in Gujarat, while the rest—Boisar, Virar, Thane and BKC—fall in Maharashtra.
NHSRCL officials have been liaising with ONGC, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), Gujarat Energy Transmission Company Ltd (GETCO), the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara and the authorities in Maharashtra to shift utilities falling enroute the proposed link. Work for the relocation of railway buildings has started and five oil wells owned by the ONGC are being shifted. More than 1,600 electrical utilities owned by the two states are also being shifted, apart from 150 extra high voltage lines.
It is government and railways-owned land that would be largely used for the project. Out of the 1,400 hectares of private land needed, 620 hectares have been acquired so far. Since the deadline for the first trial run of the bullet train between Surat and Bilimora is August 2022, the land acquisition process is being accelerated. The NHSRCL is confident of land issues being resolved amicably since
6.5 times the published Jantri rate is being offered as compensation to landowners.
With trains being run every half an hour between 6 am and 12 am, 24 bullet trains would have to be procured from Japan. As part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, six trains would be assembled in India. As per primary estimates, an end-to-end ticket would be priced at Rs 3,000.
India’s First Bullet Train Project will be completed in 27 tender packages
Exclusive Q&A with Achal Khare, Managing Director, National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited.
As a special purpose vehicle (SPV), how are you proceeding with the awarding of tenders?
Mr. Khare: We have a total of 27 packages, where two packages are for supervision. If you take out supervision, we have 25 packages. Out of this, we have already done two for the training institute and one more is being finalised. This leaves us with 23 packages for the main project, where one is again for supervision. Among 22 packages, we have already invited our biggest tender for C4, which is a 234-km viaduct plus four stations, starting from Vapi up to Vadodara, which is about 237-km. We have also invited tenders for a smaller viaduct from Vadodara to Ahmedabad. The tender for the undersea tunnel and two bridges have been invited. The tenders will be opened in November or December.
In July this year, the Parliament was informed that Indian Railways had acquired nearly 40 percent of the land for the project. Will you still be able to meet the advanced deadline for launching the first service by 2022?
Mr. Khare: Allow me to clarify that the date of 2022 is not for the full project. Since it also happens to be the 75th year of our Independence, the Prime Minister had asked if a stretch be done as a gift to the nation. So, we are trying to finish a 50-60 km section, although it’s a very ambitious target.
As for acquiring land for the project, we have completed nearly 50 percent of the task. But that varies from district to district. In certain districts such as Vadodara and Ahmedabad, the percentage is quite high, while in others it is lower.
I am sure land acquisition is a huge challenge?
Mr. Khare: In any linear project, land acquisition is a much bigger challenge. We require around 1,400 hectares of land and the difficulty level is owing to the number of people that one has to interact with, compensate and rehabilitate. We are doing land acquisition in 297 villages and the problem is that we are interacting with around 7,500 plot holders!
Relocation of Utilities
Something that hasn’t appeared on any media platform is the project involving the relocation of a lot of utilities. Tell us something about that.
Mr. Khare: To be precise, there are 1,633 overhead utilities on that stretch. So, you have low, high and extra-high tension wires. Relocating them is an onerous task in itself. Then you have to deal with different agencies. In Gujarat, you have Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation (GETCO), while in Maharashtra you have Mahatransco. Then there are powerlines of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL), Torrent, Tata Power and Essar, with each one of them having its own set of rules and procedures. Huge coordination is required. Then there are underground utilities that are not visible and pose a much bigger challenge.
A young girl at IIT Gandhinagar has developed equipment to help us to identify underground utilities. It is an equipment that can detect metal parts up to three metres below the ground. Although it has its limitations, we have been using it to the maximum extent possible. Plus, we are in touch with all service providers such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), municipalities and gas utilities. The last is the most critical underground utility since one can’t touch it unsupervised. In Gujarat, we have found small gas pipelines everywhere. Similarly, ONGC has a big presence in the state.
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