New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): India's first bullet train project which is considered as one of the ambitious and dream projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has no significant progress achieved. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14, 2017, laid the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore (US$17 billion) project. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project is only running on papers since September 14, 2017, and become a media attraction point due to flashing mindboggling contents through social media by the team of the project executing agency National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL).
The Government has spent over Rs 5,000 crore on the project so far. At the beginning of this year, Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman Railway Board had said that 47 percent of the land has been acquired for the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project but according to the information released in the Gujarat state assembly, only about 39 percent of the land has been acquired for the project so far. The bullet project hit many major speed-breakers in the past few months.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Government has never been too enthusiastic about the bullet train project. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in December 2019 that the state would "review the project" and named this project as a white elephant. The project is totally halted in Maharashtra. The NHSRCL has awarded the first construction tender to BL Kashyap & Sons for the design and construction of the Sabarmati Bullet Train Terminal in Gujarat.
The construction work has been started in last month without any media attraction as some of the media reported high-level irregularities and favorism in awarding the contract to the firm. No representative from the NHSRCL and BL Kashyap & Sons want to talk on this matter. Apart from this, the Government of India in its recent notification cancels all e-VISAs for the nationals of Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran as it works to prevent the spread of CoronaVirus.
This step will also affect and delay the work of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project. In another hand, NHSRCL has floated tenders for conducting the survey and preliminary work of six new high-speed rail corridors in India despite no significant progress in the first high-speed corridor.