The ambitious bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is set to be a test of the credentials of the country’s infrastructure prowess and with a lot riding on the project, it is no wonder that the government and the entities involved in executing the project are leaving no stone unturned to ensure it takes off without any major hiccups.
The implementing agency — National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) — has its task cut out as land acquisition woes and estimates of cost escalation are proving to be a spanner in the works.
In India, acquisition of land crops up as a major issue for infrastructure projects.
So, how is the NHSRCL planning to deal with the issue?
“Land acquisition is a lengthy and complicated process for any infrastructure project and we are no different. NHSRCL has been trying to convince project affected families to come forward and handover their land through a consent mechanism. We are also working with local communities in solving their day to day problems like providing health facilities, providing skill and entrepreneurship training to at least one member of the family through Income restoration plans. All these efforts are already giving us results and we are progressing well, as Joint measurement survey for the land required for the project is almost complete and more than 61 percent land has been acquired,” Sushma Gaur, NHRSCL spokesperson, told Moneycontrol.
She said NHRSCL believes it has an important role to play in the development of the infrastructure sector in the country.
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"Infrastructure sector has the potential to boost economy, employment opportunities, develop skilled manpower and develop opportunities for local businesses. Each country has its own set of challenges and opportunities but NHRSCL sees a lot more opportunities than challenges," she said.
NHRSCL will also prepare detailed project reports for seven new high speed rail corridors — Delhi-Varanasi, Varanasi-Howrah, Mumbai-Nagpur, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Mysore, Delhi-Amritsar, and Mumbai-Hyderabad.
Speaking about these projects, NHRSCL believes India' chances of matching up to bigger economies can get a boost with the completion of Bullet Train project as it will not only put India at a higher pedestal of technology and connectivity, but also open doors for more foreign investment and development of new businesses.
On the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of NHRSCL, she admitted that the pandemic has affected the land acquisition process, finalisation of some crucial tenders and other on ground activities.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here