Bullet Train Project: Running Behind Target, MAHSR Corridor Achieves 32 Per Cent Progress In Gujarat And 13 Per Cent In Maharashtra


Racing against time, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor — India’s first bullet train project — has achieved a physical progress of 32.93 per cent in Gujarat and 13.72 per cent in Maharashtra, at the end of February this year.

This information was provided by Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw while replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on 5 March.

“Till now, out of total 352 km elevated viaduct, 257.06 km of piling, 180 km of foundation, 155.48 km of the pier and 37.64 km of girder launching have been completed in Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli,” the Minister informed the members.

Additionally, the work on bridges across Auranga, Purna, Tapi, Narmada and Mahi rivers is in progress.

The first river bridge on Par River in Valsad in Gujarat was completed in February 2023. The 320-m-long bridge consists of eight full-span girders, each 40 m long. The height of pier on which these girders rests ranges from 14.9 to 20.9 m.

India’s First Bullet Train Project

Presently, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) is the only sanctioned high-speed rail project in the country.

The high-speed rail operating at 320 kmph will traverse along west India’s landscape, covering a distance of 508.17 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, in just about two hours.

This will save time, compared to the current travel time between the two terminal stations, by about nine hours (by bus) or six hours (by conventional railways).

It will cover 155.76 km in Maharashtra, 4.3 km in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 348.04 km in Gujarat.

During the journey, the train will halt at 12 stations — Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

The government is yet to determine a final deadline for the entire project, but the completion time for a 50-km stretch between Surat and Bilimora in Gujarat has been set for August 2026.

The ground-breaking ceremony of the MAHSR project was held on 14 September 2017, in presence of the Prime Ministers of India and Japan.

Cost Escalation

The total cost of MAHSR project was estimated at Rs 108,000 crore in 2015 and an expenditure of Rs 38,506 crore has so far been incurred on the project. According to a NHSRCL report, the project has incurred expenditure of Rs 11,353.14 crore in the financial year of 2022-23.

The delay and the fluctuating Yen price has escalated the cost many times since the initial estimate of over Rs 1.08 lakh crore, with 80 per cent Japanese funding as an easy loan.

It is estimated that the project cost will likely touch Rs 2 lakh crore by the time of completion.

Running Behind schedule

The overall physical progress for the project stood at 25.63 per cent as against the target of 30.06 per cent till January 2023, a shortfall of 4.43 per cent.

The Minister also said in a reply that the execution of the project had been affected due to delay in land acquisition in the state of Maharashtra and consequent delays in finalisation of contracts.

With the target shortfall of over 4 per cent, it would be tough to meet the August 2027 target to make the over 300-km-long route operational in Gujarat.

Since the project is much behind the schedule in Maharashtra, the Railways is exploring possibilities to make the Gujarat portion operational by 2027.