Eknath Shinde also admitted that Virgin group head Richard Branson had met Uddhav Thackeray.
The Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project is still on the cards and it will be implemented using the Swiss Challenge Method, Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde told the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
Conceptualised by the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, the hyperloop project aims to reduce the travel time between Pune and Mumbai from around three hours to just 25 minutes and it would be the first such system in the world.
Incidentally, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar last month had said the state government will consider the Hyperloop project if it is shown to be practicable in other countries.
Ajit Pawar had pointed out that this futuristic mode of transport has not been implemented anywhere else in the world as yet.
Eknath Shinde on Wednesday made the announcement in a written reply to a question raised by Congress MLC Sharad Ranpise and stated that the project will be implemented using the Swiss Challenge Method.
Under this method, an interested party initiates a proposal for a contract or the bid for a project, after which the government makes details of the project public and invites proposals from others. After receiving other bids, the original contractor gets an opportunity to match the best bid.
A meeting of Dubai-based DP World officials, Pune district collector, and other stakeholders had taken place on May 3, 2019, he said.
"The meeting was about finalising a stretch of barren land from Gahunje to Ozarde for constructing a testing track," he said.
The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 70,000 crore and it will be implemented by Virgin Hyperloop One. Eknath Shinde also admitted that Virgin group head Richard Branson had met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on December 12, 2019.