Mumbai (Urban Transport News): The Maharashtra Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday approved the ambitious Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project which aims to shorten the journey between the two cities to a mere 23 minutes. In the meeting Fadnavis said that the project would be carried out in two phases and completed in 6 to 8 years.
The MahaIDEA Committee has also earlier approved Virgin Hyperloop One-DP World (VHO-DPW) Consortium as the Original Project Proponent (OPP). This is a landmark announcement for building the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop transportation system, recognizing hyperloop technology alongside other more traditional forms of mass transit.
While approving the project, Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said,
Inspired by the new India vision of Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, Maharashtra will create the first hyperloop transportation system in the world and a global hyperloop supply chain starting from Pune. We have just named DP World – Virgin Hyperloop One consortium as the Original Project Proponent for the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project and preparing to start the public procurement process. Maharashtra and India is at the forefront of hyperloop infrastructure building now and this is a moment of pride for our people.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman Virgin Hyperloop One, said,
Support for hyperloop transportation systems is mounting across the world and India has led the charge to bring hyperloop to fruition since the early stages of development. To be named OPP is an incredible vote of confidence in our ability to deliver this advanced technology to the people of India and enhance their lives.
DP World (DPW), a global trade leader and a major ports and logistics operator in India, is set to invest $500 million USD in private capital to complete Phase One of the project, which will certify this new technology for passenger operations, establishing India as the epicenter of hyperloop innovation without using public funds. This project will be executed in partnership between DP World - Virgin Hyperloop One consortia and the state government of Maharashtra, and further Foreign Direct Investment in billions of dollars is expected. Commenting on the announcement, Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, said,
This is history in the making. The race is on to host the first hyperloop transportation system in the world, and today’s announcement puts India firmly in the lead. This is a significant milestone and the first of many important steps toward bringing hyperloop to the masses. We look forward to participating in the public procurement process and bringing this revolutionary new transport technology to the world.
There are approximately 75 million passenger journeys between Mumbai and Pune annually – expected to skyrocket to 130 million by 2026. Virgin Hyperloop One’s system can meet this growing demand by supporting as many as 200 million passengers annually, linking central Pune and Mumbai in less than 35 minutes. This ultra-high speed linkage not only opens up new economic and social opportunities, but also offers a sustainable form of mass transportation with zero direct emissions. Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director of India and Middle East, Virgin Hyperloop One, said,
The dynamism shown by the State and Federal governments and public agencies in India has been visionary, and the country will reap the benefits of being a first-mover in adopting hyperloop technology. Once commercialized, it will transform the Pune-Mumbai corridor into a mega-economic region moving people and cargo between these two centers in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. This process creates a blueprint for a hyperloop network spanning the entire nation. We would like to thank the government of India, state of Maharashtra and partnershing agencies for getting the project from vision to reality.
The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA), which is the nodal body for the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project, will carry out the project work. The estimated cost of this project would be around Rs 70,000 crore.
PMRDA officials said that the tender for the first phase of Hyperloop project may be floated by the middle of next month. The project will cover a distance of 117.5 km stretch from Mumbai (BKC) to Pune (Wakad) and would complete journey in 23 minutes at a speed of 496 kilometres per hour.
The first phase of the Hyperloop project will be constructed as a pilot project under which work on 11.80 km stretch will be carried out. The project cost for the first phase is estimated to Rs 5,000 crore. In the second phase, it will connect Wakad with Kurla.
A Hyperloop is a high-speed mode of transportation, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a tube at near the speed of an aeroplane. If the plan works out, people will be able to travel from Mumbai to Pune and vise-versa in 23 minutes.
According to the sources, the Hydeperloop project will begin with a six-month feasibility study and setting up of a 10-km demonstration track, which will start from Hinjewadi. Operations on this track are expected to begin by 2021.
In the third board meeting of Maharashtra Infrastructure Development Enabling Authority (MahaIDEA) which was held on 22nd February 2019, the Board has decided to constitute an Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary (Expenditure), Finance Department, Government of Maharashtra to recommend MahaIDEA on the issues related to Concession Agreement of Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop Project.
The Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop project will be developed by the Virgin Hyperloop and DP World jointly. The initial investment will be made by these two companies. However, Maharashtra government will provide land for the project.