A RTI reply has revealed that several state departments in Maharashtra had objected to the Modi government’s decision to build a bullet train terminus on the prime Bandra-Kurla Complex location. According to the Mumbai Mirror, the urban development department of the state had informed the government that setting up a terminus for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train on that land could lead to the state losing nearly Rs 48,000 crore in revenue.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had also protested the government’s decision and explained that building the terminus at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) would cripple the development of the area, now a high-value business complex, reportsMumbai Mirror. The state government was informed about these issues when the project was approved and inaugurated in September 2017 by Narendra Modi and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe.
The cost of the project, according to The Hindu, is currently pegged at Rs 1,08,000 crore. The report on Hindu also states that Maharashtra’s planning and finance departments have urged the centre and state governments to do a thorough economic study of bullet train projects in other countries
Construction for the bullet train corridor is slated to begin in January 2019.
The planning and finance departments also warned the state that Maharashtra is reeling under the burden of loans and loss of income, so the impact of the bullet train project on the state’s finances should also be considered.
“The estimated annual return of the project is less than the expenditure, hence the chances of losses are high. [We] need clarifications regarding sharing of such losses and expenditure,” Hindu quotes a state department note.
Earlier this year, another RTI revealed that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route that the ambitious and expensive bullet train will run on, has been a loss-making one. According to a report on NDTV, 40% of the seats on trains on the route remain empty and and the railways have lost Rs 30 crore since July 2017 on that route. The response to the RTI query also revealed that a majority of the sleeper class tickets are sold and the expensive classes remain unsold.
The bullet train is slated to begin its run in 2023.