Emphasis is on the Gujarat section of the Mumbai – Ahmedabad high-speed line

Completion targets for the Mumbai – Ahmedabad high-speed line have been revised in line with plans to commission the 352 km section in Gujarat state in 2027. Trials will be carried out on a 47 km section linking Surat in Bilimora in 2026, National High Speed ​​Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) Managing Director Mr. Satish Agnihotri told IRJ.

The 508 km high-speed corridor project in India has been subject to time and cost overruns due to multiple factors, including the unwillingness of the state of Maharashtra to allocate the 50 billion rupees (564 million dollars) of financing that it must provide to the project or to facilitate the acquisition of land. to build a high-speed station in the Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai. According to unofficial estimates, the total costs of the project have risen from Rs 1.08 trillion to Rs 1.8 trillion.

NHSRCL, the project’s executing agency, has also struggled to acquire land in the Thane Creek area of ​​Maharashtra, where a 21 km tunnel, which includes a 7 km underwater section, is propose. While 99% of the land required for the project was secured in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli, only 68% was acquired in Maharashtra.

Hoping that the Bandra Kurla land would be made available, NHSRCL launched tenders for civil works in 2019, but those tenders were canceled this year after being delayed 11 times. . The company also launched a tender for tunnel work near Thane Creek last year, but this was canceled in February following several delays.

Following instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office, the NHSRCL has in recent months accelerated work in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Dadar, Nagar, Haveli (DNB). Earthworks have progressed rapidly at several locations, including Vapi, Surat, Boisar and Bharuch, with construction of piers, beams and viaducts and shaft foundations underway along 125 km of the line.

Contracts for track works on 237 km of the line in Gujarat have been awarded and tenders for the remaining 115 km will be awarded within a few months, according to NHSRCL officials. Work on Gujarat’s eight high-speed railway stations are in various stages of construction. The Surat High Speed ​​Railway Station – known as India’s Diamond Capital – is set to be completed next year, while the Sabarmati Passenger Terminal Hub – which will integrate high speed, metro, mass transit fast by bus and conventional rail – should be completed. in August.

Meanwhile, Indian and Japanese officials will need to rework the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries to take into account projected higher project costs caused by various factors, including fluctuations in the value of the rupees and yen, and the Covid-related spike in the import. machinery and equipment costs.

“Possible additional costs will only be clear after all financial offers have been launched and opened,” Agnihotri said.

So far, only civil contracts for Gujarat and DNB section have been awarded.

“Tenders for rolling stock and signaling for Gujarat and DNB sections will be awarded within two years,” Agnihotri added.

“Questions about additional costs for the project are under intensive discussion between Japanese and Indian officials,” Japanese Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki told the media on April 12. “We are trying to ensure that the line is built at a reasonable cost.”

Suzuki says the latest E5 Shinkansen built by Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries will be used on the line. The trains will be adapted to meet the demands of operating in India’s high temperatures and dusty conditions, with the first batch expected to be shipped to India in 2025.

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