Many obstacles later, India’s first bullet train project finally sees a ray of hope


  • The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) requires 1,415 hectares of land, however, it has so far managed to acquire only around 0.9 hectares.
  • The NHSRCL floated its first tender for building a bridge in the Navsari district of Gujarat today.
  • In all, around 60 bridges are to be built in the 508-km high-speed corridor
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project the $17 billion bullet train connecting Mumbai to Ahmedabad has been the recipient of much criticism and has had to deal with numerous hurdles from the get-go.

While many wonder that when the basic infrastructure of the nation is crumbling, does it make sense to pump in so much money into this one project that will comparatively benefit only a fraction of the society, others have raised concerns about the impact on the environment.

That question and criticism aside, the biggest issue plaguing the project is that of farmers from Gujarat and Maharashtra refusing to part with their land for the project.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) requires 1,415 hectares of land for which it has allocated around ₹100 billion. However, according to a report in the Indian Express it has so far managed to acquire only around 0.9 hectares.

Today (6 July), however, the NHSRCL has made a teeny tiny headway and has floated its first tender for building a bridge in the Navsari district of Gujarat. In all, around 60 bridges are to be built in the 508-km high-speed corridor.

The NHSRCL has resorted to novel methods like recruiting women from the 73 villages where the land is to be acquired to help with the negotiation process, a method that is apparently working. These women have been successful in facilitating a dialogue between the heads of the villages and NHSRCL engineers for the joint measurement survey. In fact, they have managed to get the survey team into villages where earlier the team was threatened with violence and couldn’t even enter.

Apart from this, a team of 15 women from various blocks have been roped in to explain the compensation packages being offered and the exact land requirements to the villagers.

But, all things considered, this is a minute step forward for this mammoth project. It is still unclear whether the deadline to start civil work by December 2018-January 2019 will be met. The NHSRCL spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar, however, is quite confident and told the Indian Express that they are “on schedule as per the timeline of the project”.

Representative image used.
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