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    Published On : Mon, Oct 5th, 2015
    Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Nagpur-Mumbai bullet train plan grinds to a halt!

    Nagpur: The ambitious Nagpur-Mumbai bullet train project seems to be nowhere near reality as the railway officials say the State Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is least interested in the project.

    One of the first high-speed lines conjured up by the previous Democratic Front government led by Prithviraj Chavan in the state, the project now is nowhere on the railway high-speed list.

    In August this year, current chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a plan for construction of a six-lane expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur. This project is expected to cost upwards of Rs30,000 crore at current prices. The expressway plan, according to railway officials, might be one of the reasons why Fadnavis asked the railway ministry to include Nashik as part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor rather than the Mumbai-Nagpur bullet train corridor which would have been more appropriate.
    When contacted, Anil Saxena, chief spokesperson for the railway ministry, said: “The only high-speed corridor involving Nagpur currently being studied is the Delhi-Chennai high-speed rail link. Its study has been allotted to Chinese companies and the current plan is to divide the project into two packets, one, the Delhi-Nagpur packet and the other, the Nagpur-Chennai packet.”

    However, certain officials say during the earlier UPA regime, the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), through its subsidiary High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC), had started a study to check the feasibility of the Mumbai-Nagpur route. This was because in October 2012, then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had given his consent for the project during a meeting with then chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal. The state had pegged the project cost at Rs1.3 lakh crore and was willing to share costs.

    A message sent to SC Agnihotri, chairman-cum-managing director of RVNL, on whether the HSRC was conducting or contemplating a study for a bullet-train service to Nagpur from Mumbai did not elicit a reply.

    “The railway ministry does not think that the Mumbai-Nagpur line will be profitable as it does not believe there is a bullet train clientele between the two cities. Moreover, with the upgrading of the Nagpur airport in the coming years as well as construction of the Navi Mumbai airport, there is better scope for air travel between Mumbai and Nagpur than a bullet train. The Rs1 lakh crore (which will be saved by virtue of constructing the expressway) can be used to build highways in the state rather than a bullet train,” said a city-based railway official.

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