It is often said that the ride for developers of infrastructure projects in India is often bumpy. Even if they are able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape, they have to contend with issues emanating from the right of way . Against this backdrop, the agency tasked with building the country’s first bullet train line might have shown the way to both existing as well as potential developers.
Efforts by the National High Speed Rail Corp. Ltd (NHSRCL) hit a dead end after villagers in Mangrol village in Gujarat’s Vadodara district declined to give their land for the flagship project. After initial efforts to convince the residents failed, NHSRCL organised a ‘consensus camp’ on June 11 to address their concerns.
Around 11 families that had expressed their apprehensions about the proposed land acquisition were invited to the meeting. Detailed confabulations followed between family members and officers from the land acquisition department, local municipality and NHSRCL. The officials were able to successfully explain the importance of the project for the region as well as the nation to the assembled villagers, who agreed to give their land for the project.
“The role played by the land acquisition officer and field officers of NHSRCL was particularly important it was as they who briefed the villagers on the different aspects of the compensation that would be payable to them in return for their land. It was only after the villagers got a better clarity on the issue that they gave their in-principle nod,” an NHSRCL spokesperson told INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY.
The 508 km long high-speed rail corridor will reduce the travel time between the cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai to two hours. The project’s foundation stone was jointly laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September 2017. Being built at an investment of Rs 1.08 trillion, the upcoming Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train is expected to cover the distance between two cities in just two hours. The project is being developed on the Japanese E5 Shinkansen technology.
By far, NHSRCL has completed nearly 60 per cent of the land acquisition for the project in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The country’s railway sector is expected to become the third-largest globally by 2022. Indian Railways had announced a massive investment plan of Rs 8.56 trillion over five years from FY2016-20 towards modernisation. The progress on projects such as high-speed rail, Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) and redevelopment of railway stations is likely to mark a paradigm shift in the country’s railways sector.