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    Virgin Group reaches out to Nitin Gadkari for hyperloop

    Synopsis

    Last month, the Maharashtra government decided to shelve the company’s proposed project in the state.

    Agencies
    NEW DELHI: Richard Branson-owned Virgin Group has reached out to transport minister Nitin Gadkari with a proposal to establish a hyperloop transportation system between New Delhi and Mumbai, after the Maharashtra government decided to shelve the company’s proposed project in the state last month.

    A source in the know told ET that Virgin Group has approached Gadkari—who is known for his openness to adopting new technologies—to develop a 1,300-km line between the national capital and Mumbai. Executives of the group are in India for the next two days and are meeting various stakeholders for the technology, the person said.

    Hyperloop 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.

    “Senior executives from the Virgin Group have met the transport minister to discuss this,” the person cited earlier told ET. “The talks are at a very preliminary stage and they may submit a formal proposal to Gadkari.”

    ET could not contact the Virgin Group immediately for an official comment.

    Speaking at a public event here on Thursday, Gadkari also mentioned that he had met investors earlier in the day and discussed a bullet train-like project.

    Virgin Hyperloop One’s proposed Pune-Mumbai link project was okayed by the BJP government in the state last year. The first phase of the plan entailed an 11.8 km-long track. The project would have needed up to $10 billion in investment and up in 2.5 years to be completed. Last month, the Uddhav Thackarey-led state government decided against implementing it amid doubts about its capsule technology, which is not yet operational anywhere in the world.

    “We do not have the capacity to experiment with hyperloop. 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,” Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had said in a recent statement.

    An official ET spoke with said it may be visibly impossible to develop a 1,300 km-long line at this point when not even 1 km is operational anywhere in the world. The official did not wish to be identified.

    Billionaire entrepreneur Branson’s diversified conglomerate Virgin Group has interests in aviation, hospitality, music, telecom and space travel.

    Commenting on the development, Virgin Hyperloop One spokesperson said “Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) is committed to India and the State of Maharashtra. We are actively engaging with the Maharashtra Government as per the standard due process for the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project. When we came to India we had a vision to connect all Tier One cities in under 2 hours. Delhi-Mumbai is a part of that national vision, but our focus remains on moving forward with the Mumbai-Pune project to the satisfaction of all concerned stakeholders.”
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    25 Comments on this Story

    arindam_cts285 days ago
    Nitin ji must support this initiative and I personally feel all the 4 metro cities must be connected with one another using this hyperloop network.
    Gaana User285 days ago
    Gadkari may ask him to take up Jet or Air India as confidence building measure.
    tekws 285 days ago
    Branson should pay hafta to BJP party fund and shout "jai shree ram " and eat pakoda.PLus he must meet sponsors of modiji-adanis and ambanis.They always post profits while world goes into losses.That way,branson will get our tax money for life like ambanis-adanis
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