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Sunday, 08 January, 2017, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Bullet train to Gujarat to commence from BKC

As per the Hindustan Times report, Bandra will be home to the first station of the superfast train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has agreed to give 40,000 sq mt of land at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, at a meeting earlier this week, ordered it to do so, said a senior bureaucrat. The move will take Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project a step closer to reality. The INR 99,000 crore project proposes to take passengers between the two cities in under three hours, cutting down train travel time from the current eight hours.

The train will halt at 12 stations, three in Maharashtra and the remaining in Gujarat and will run entirely underground. MMRDA was at first against the proposal, as it wanted to use the land for the proposed International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at BKC. The state Urban Development Department had even asked the Railways to explore alternatives near Bandra Terminus and Kurla. Sources said the MMRDA had also raised concerns about losing the revenue the IFSC would bring in. But as the terminus in BKC will be underground, it will still allow construction of the proposed IFSC on the earmarked plot, said U.P.S. Madan, IAS, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. “The station is planned to be built under the road, so the rest of the land is available for IFSC construction. We have given our comments to the state , which will take the final call and convey it to the Centre,” Madan said.

The proposal to build the 508 km line underground, however, is likely to face environmental hurdles as it will pass over riverbeds along the route. “The CM has decided to form a committee of experts to look at environmental issues related to the proposed train,” said Diwakar Raote, Minister for Transport, Government of Maharashtra. Maharashtra and Gujarat will contribute 25% each to fund the INR 99,000 crore project, while the remaining 50% will be borne by the Central government.

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