Even as political opposition continues for the bullet train project from states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal remains optimistic and does not see "any stress" in getting the land for the ambitious high speed rail (HSR) project, primarily on the increased compensation that the Government is offering.
A source from the Government echoed his view and said that Japan, which is giving soft loans for the project, is increasing its funding for the project to USD 5 billion per year from the earlier commitment of USD 3 billion.
"The environmental and social impact studies either have been completed or are near completion. I personally don’t see any stress in getting the land (for the project)," Goyal told media representatives on the sidelines of AIIB 3rd AGM.
He said the Government is not facing any resistance on land acquisition for infrastructure projects ever since it increasd the compensation to four times of the value, and added that in the case of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the same has been upped to five times if it is through consent.
Goyal said on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad metro, he has had detailed discussions with the Chief Ministers of both Maharashtra and Gujarat in order to expedite the project.
He drew comparisons with the Beijing-Shanghai high speed connectivity project, and said that India also aspires to develop the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch into a high growth zone just like the stretch between the two Chinese cities.
Goyal said he has had discussions with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) top brass as well on the country’s HSR ambitions and added that the multilateral institution has evinced interest in financing some of the projects in the future.
The minister also said that there will be more HSR corridors apart from the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch which will be floated by the Government in the future.
President Jing of AIIB expressed a lot interest in taking up the next level of HSR corridor projects that India would envisage going forward. GQ and its laterals also discussed, where we have demand for high speed connectivity and AIIB would possibly be on the horizon