New Delhi, June 23 : The National High Speed Rail Corp Ltd (NHSRCL) is hopeful of acquiring a major chunk of land required for the 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project by the end of this year.
NHSRCL spokesperson Sushma Gaur told IANS that the land will be taken over once the tenders for the project were finalised.
"Major chunk of the land acquisition is likely to be completed by December 2019," she said.
The bullet trains are expected to run at 320 km per hour covering the 508 km stretch in about two hours. In comparison, trains now plying on the route take over seven hours to travel the distance while planes take about an hour of flying time.
The NHSRCL has acquired 39 per cent of the 1,380 hectares of land till date.
This comes to 537 hectares: 471 of 940 hectares in Gujarat and 66 of 431 hectares in Maharashtra.
The agency has failed to take over any of nine hectares required in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Gaur said the Bullet Train project was progressing at a good pace.
"Two or three months back the total land acquired was 33 per cent. And within 90 days we were able to acquire over 6 per cent more land," she said.
Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Shinzo Abe of Japan on September 14, 2017 laid the foundation stone for the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) high-speed rail project.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Railway Ministry have signed a MoU, with Japan to partially fund the project.
Gaur said the railways had floated tenders for tunnelling work, including testing and commissioning of the double line high speed railway using tunnel boring machine (TBM) and New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) between the underground station at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai and Shilphata in Maharashtra.
According to the official, a 21-km tunnel will be dug between Boisar in Maharashtra and the Bandra-Kurla Complex, 7 km of which will be under the sea.
Gaur said the design and construction of civil and building works, including testing and commissioning of 237 km of length of rail line corridor between Zaroli village on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border and Vadodara in Gujarat, have been floated.
This accounts for 47 per cent of the total length of the project and will include a mountain tunnel of about 280 metres, 24 river crossings and 30 road and canal crossings.
She said the tenders to construct the stations in Gujarat's Vapi, Bilimora, Surat and Bharuch had also been floated.
The construction of the Sabarmati hub in Ahmedabad to be linked to the bullet train station has started.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)