A close associate of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asked why the Maharashtra government was in a hurry to dismantle a Covid-19 care centre in Mumbai to make way for a bullet train station.
There are several cases of coronavirus and H1N1 virus (swine flu) in Mumbai and the Eknath Shinde-led state government should provide all necessary health facilities to people, Thackeray’s media advisor Harshal Pradhan told agencies.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw last week said the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has invited bids for the design and construction of an underground station in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) area and for tunnels for the bullet train project.
This is the first set of bids invited after rebel Sena MLA Eknath Shinde-led government came to power in Maharashtra.
The new government has given the green light to the project, which remained dormant during the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led dispensation. Pradhan said as per the state government, BKC will have a terminus for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.
“The project is more beneficial to Gujarat than Maharashtra, still we are taking the initiative to dismantle the Covid-19 care centre set up (at the proposed site for the bullet train terminus in BKC),” he claimed.
Why is there so much hurry to dismantle it when cases of infectious disease are on the rise in Mumbai? he asked.
I am not talking only about the coronavirus. A number of cases of H1N1 (swine flu) infection and Covid-19 are found in the city every day. Hence, dismantling such a key Covid-19 care centre for the benefit of the bullet train project is unacceptable, he said.
Earlier this year, the NHSRCL had cancelled tenders floated in November 2019 for the construction of an underground terminus at the BKC for the bullet train project after the Maharashtra government failed to hand over the land.
After floating the tenders, the NHSRCL gave almost 11 extensions while waiting for the land at the BKC to be handed over to it.
The bullet train will run at a speed of 320 kmph, and is expected to cover a distance of 508 km and 12 stations between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in three hours.
The travel time between the two cities is currently about six hours.