The Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail corridor, the country’s first high-speed rail project, is up against a stiff deadline and the uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic is set to stretch the limits of the stakeholders, said an expert.
According to Abhilesh Babel, CEO – Infra Advisory, Feedback Infra, the Railways has set a stiff deadline for itself.
“The three-month timeline for the tendering process keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation is going to be a tough task,” said Babel.
He said the task of sticking to the December 2023 deadline for project completion is also arduous, given the delays in the completion of Western DFC – which was a project of similar scale.
“Since this is Japanese funded and there’s going to be reliance on Japanese vendors, it is going to be a challenging task to finish the project on these tight timelines,” he said.
Moneycontrol reached out to the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) seeking comment on the tender timeline but they declined.
NHSRCL has till date floated tenders for 68 percent of the related civil works for the project, along with a separate tender for the fabrication of as many as 28 steel bridges in Maharashtra.
Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav earlier told Hindustan Times the tender process is going to be initiated within three months.
“In mega projects, we go for tendering only when 90 percent of the land is acquired. We will be going ahead when we acquire some more land and a complete uninterrupted stretch of land is available. Project is progressing well. We will be going ahead with tendering within three months,” he told the publication.
Railways has reiterated despite the COVID-19 upheavals, the high-speed rail corridor is expected to be completed on time.
The project, which has been dogged by land acquisition woes and doubts related to financial viability, is expected to cover the distance between the two cities in just two hours.
The Railways is also working on seven high-speed corridors and four freight corridors. NHSRCL is preparing detailed project reports for seven new HSR corridors in India–namely Delhi-Varanasi, Varanasi-Howrah, Mumbai-Nagpur, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Mysore, Delhi-Amritsar and Mumbai-Hyderabad.
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