New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) Newly appointed Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday reviewed the ambitious bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, as part of his efforts over the last few days to get acquainted with the high priority works of the national transporter.
During a review meeting, the minister was apprised on the status of the project by the managing director of its implementing agency, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL).
'Reviewed implementation of Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed line with Mr Satish Agnihotri, Managing Director NHSR,' Vaishnaw tweeted.
Till date, 1,035 hectare of land has been acquired out of the total of 1,396 hectare required for the project, officials said.
Out of the 74 per cent land acquisition so far, the majority -- 96 per cent -- is in Gujarat, while only 25 per cent is in Maharashtra, they said, adding that 96 per cent of the land needed the project in the Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli has been acquired.
Civil work contracts for the construction of 92 per cent of the alignment -- 325 km out of 351 km and five stations -- have been awarded in Gujarat and Dadra Nagar Haveli, and construction work has started in the region, employing around 2,200 people and 300 major machineries, the officials said.
They added that about 90 per cent land has already been handed over to contractors for construction.
More than 5,300 drawings related to various structures have been submitted by contractors to the NHSRCL, and geo-technical investigation has been completed at 785 locations and test pile casting has been completed at six locations, the officials said. Construction work is currently ongoing at 10 sites.
It is expected that contract award for remaining eight per cent of the alignment and three remaining stations in Gujarat will be awarded by end of this year and work for the Sabarmati rolling stock depot will be awarded early next year, the officials said.
Track construction work for 237 km is also expected to be awarded by the last quarter of this year and remaining track works in Gujarat by early next year.
Work in Maharashtra is limited to land acquisition and utility shifting, they said.
The officials said that the major hindrance for contract award in the Maharashtra part of the alignment is land availability as at least 80 per cent of the land has to be made available before any of the work can be awarded.
'The ongoing pandemic and slow land acquisition process in Maharashtra is adversely affecting the MAHSR (Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail) project. The revised timelines will be worked out after accessing the exact impact of the pandemic on the entire project, land acquisition and tender finalisation in the state of Maharashtra,” an official said.
Earlier, on July 9, Vaishnaw met his predecessor Piyush Goyal and thanked him for the brief given by him about the rail projects in progress. He also conducted a full introductory review meeting with Railway Board members.
In a surprise move, the minister went to the first floor of the Rail Bhawan in Central Delhi and met officials of the signalling and telecom department.
In a video, the minister can be seen speaking with the staff and even hugging one of them after he reveals that he has completed his engineering in the same college as the minister.
Vaishnaw took charge of the Railway Ministry on July 8. PTI ASG ANB ANB