- Mention about the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed rail & other pipeline projects.
- Pointwise mention its benefits.
In 2022, as India marks its 75th year of independence, Indians were expected to experience the thrill of a bullet train ride. But the likely date for Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project has been relegated to 2026. The project is entangled in land acquisition battles and construction delays.
About Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR):
The plan for the MAHSR corridor was first set in 2013. In 2014, a study was commissioned, and the final report was submitted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Japanese government also agreed to fund the project via loans offered at concessional rates. The Union cabinet approved the project in December 2015. An agreement was signed with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project was inaugurated in 2017 and was scheduled for its first run in 2022.
It is the first and only approved bullet train till now. It will pass through three districts in Maharashtra, eight in Gujarat and will cut through Dadra and Nagar Haveli. National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) is the implementing agency of the project. So far, the NHSRCL has completed the final location survey & geotechnical investigation by obtaining the statutory clearances.
Other high-speed rail projects are in the pipeline ?: A New Delhi to Varanasi high-speed rail corridor & a Mumbai-Nagpur corridor are also likely, depending on the clarity w.r.t funding. The NHSRCL is in the process of preparing detailed project reports for at least five more proposed corridors: Delhi-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Amritsar, Mumbai-Hyderabad, Chennai-Mysore, and Varanasi-Howrah.
- It has an economic multiplier effect, as evidenced in various other countries.
- In India, trains have played a significant role in shaping the growth of the domestic economy since the late-1800s. Currently, Indian Railways operates one of the largest rail networks in the world—transporting more than 22 million passengers a day and moving more than 1.2 billion tonnes of goods every year.
- The high-speed rail network, is expected to further catalyse India’s economic growth and act as a stimulus for the development of satellite towns.
- According to a study conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Hamburg in 2008, cities that are connected to HSR systems tend to witness a rise in GDP by at least 7% compared to their neighbours. The reason for the differential was improved market access.
- Several new technologies are expected to be used for the first time in India to surmount this construction challenge. E.g.: Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology will also be deployed for the first time in a railway project in India.
- According to the International Association of Railways, high-speed rail is eight times more energy efficient than airplanes and four times more efficient than automobile use. It will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
- The project is expected to create a lots of employment opportunities, increase economic activity, boost productivity and improve mobility.
The HSR projects will revitalize India’s smaller towns and cities by opening avenues for mixed land use, tourism and business opportunities. Though India is ready for bullet trains, land acquisition policies and others are hurdles in the development. Hence, India needs to reform those policies that hinder the HSR projects.