Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Project: A new hurdle for India’s first high-speed rail project – COVID-19, says an IE report. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already described the Rs 1.1 lakh crore project as a “white elephant”. The Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project is the Centre’s flagship collaboration with Japan, which was jointly announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in the year 2017. For the project, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding 80% of the estimated cost of the project through a soft loan. The remaining cost for the Bullet Train corridor has to be borne by the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in the form of land acquisitions for the project.
For the execution of the project, Indian Railways had set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV)- National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL). Of the 530-km long corridor, 108 km will fall in Maharashtra. For the project, the state of Maharashtra has to acquire 353 hectares land of the total 1,400 hectares land that is required in the Dahanu-Palghar-Bhiwandi belt. However, the land acquisition process has barely begun with the people of the area opposing the Bullet Train project.