"As per our assessment, the project might miss the target by a year. The entire 508 km stretch could be commissioned by end 2023," the source from NHSRCL said.
The entire high-speed rail corridor will require 1,434 hectares of land with 353 hectares in Maharashtra and the rest in Gujarat. This is divided into 7,000 plots, in 195 villages in Gujarat and in 104 villages in Maharashtra. The project covers three districts in Maharashtra and eight in Gujarat, besides a small area in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. However, so far, only about 0.9 hectare in Bandra-Kurla Complex has been physically handed over, leading to this present predicament, the source said.
"This is one section which will meet the deadline. Besides, it could act as a prototype, helping us test the technologies involved in high-speed operation," said another source.
The project involves the construction of the Vadodara station right on top of the existing station of the Indian railway network. A 220-meter girder (which itself will be an engineering challenge) would be part of this station project.
“This girder could only be completed around the end of 2022,” the source said listing out the numerous challenges in the project.
It is likely that NHSRCL will miss the December 2018 deadline for land acquisition for the Rs 1.08 trillion project, being built with an 80 per cent loan from Japan, the sources said citing resistance from farmers in Palghar (Maharashtra) and Navsari (Gujarat).