Mumbai, Dec 12 (IANS) Apparently panicking after the new Maharashtra government announced a review of all mega infrastructure projects, British business magnate Sir Richard Branson came to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to give a boost to his proposed Mumbai-Pune ‘Hyperloop’ transportation project, here on Thursday.
The meeting was described as ‘courtesy call’ by both sides with the discussions focusing on civil aviation and other businesses of Branson’s group companies.
“It was a ‘courtesy call’. During the meeting, Sir Branson briefed the CM on the Hyperloop Project, civil aviation and other businesses of his Group,” official sources revealed.
On his part, Thackeray has assured that he would study the project, its overall implications and other aspects in detail.
It may be recalled that after the Make In India summit held in Mumbai in February 2016, it was announced that a journey between Mumbai and Pune could be completed in just 29 minutes by deploying the advanced Hyperloop technology.
Hyperloop can attain hyper-sonic speeds of 600-700 kmph and this model of mass transportation is being pioneered by Branson for the first time in the world in India.
Slated to be a global first, the Hyperloop concept aims to allow hypersonic transport via a pod moving inside a vacuum tube, generating worldwide interest.
Branson was among the key speakers at the summit which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with several Indian and foreign dignitaries present.
After this, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – who considered it among his pet projects – had met Branson and visited the Hyperloop test facilities in Nevada, USA.
Later, the state government approved the formation of a consortium of DP World FZE and Hyperloop Technologies as an ‘original project proponent’, with an estimated FDI investment of over Rs 70,000 crore.
Around 150-km apart, presently, Mumbai and Pune are well-connected by the country’s first expressway, a highway, inter-city trains and flights, and the Hyperloop technology promises to revolutionise the approximately 3-hour long terrestrial journey into virtually a 30-minute commute.