Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday indicated that the state government is likely to go slow on the hyperloop project, which aims to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and neighbouring city of Pune to 35 minutes, PTI reported.
Pawar, who is also the finance minister, chaired a series of meetings to fast-track the pending projects and expressed reservations about the $10-billion plan to build the world’s first ultra-fast hyperloop project.
“Hyperloops have never been constructed anywhere in the world until now,” he told reporters in Pune. “Let it happen somewhere else. Let it become successful for at least a 10 km distance somewhere abroad.”
However, he clarified that his comments should not be viewed as a decision to scrap the project by the Maha Vikas Aghadi – the alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. “We do not have the capacity to experiment with hyperloop,” Pawar added. “We will concentrate on other modes of transport and in the meantime, if that technology develops more with successful trials abroad, we can think about it.”
Hyperloops use magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the pods can shuttle people and freight at speeds of up to 1,200 km per hour. This was proposed as a replacement to existing rail infrastructure by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government.
In August, the Bharatiya Janata Party had also granted infrastructure project status to the plan.
The Mumbai to Pune route is one of the country’s busiest, with roughly 75 million passenger journeys each year.
In November, reports had said the Rs 1.08 lakh crore bullet train project connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad may come to a halt too. Expenditure for the project was to be diverted towards farmers’ welfare programmes and a general farm loan waiver, according to the Common Minimum Programme drawn up between the three parties.