CHANDIGARH: After Maharashtra, Punjab will be the second state in the country to get the Hyperloop mass transit system, which is a pod-like vehicle travelling through a tunnel at a speed higher than that of an aircraft. It is proposed to be set up between Amritsar and Chandigarh at a cost of Rs 56,000 crore, reducing the travel time between both cities to just 35 to 40 minutes.
Officials said the state government is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) shortly with US-based company Virgin Hyperloop One. The US company has tied up with a leading UAE-based company to bring this ultra-modern and untested technology to India. "The prototypes of the pods to be used here are being tested in Nevada in the US and in the future they are likely to run in Toronto and Dubai also,’’ said an official.
Each pod has a seating capacity of 28 people and will travel at a speed of 1,100 to 1,300 kilometres per hour in a tunnel-like structure with almost no resistance and very low atmospheric pressure. This tunnel can be underground or overground depending on the availability of land and other factors. Thus the distance between Chandigarh and Amritsar can be covered in a time span of 35 to 40 minutes compared to the present travel time of five hours by road.
It will run from Amritsar with stops at Jalandhar and Ludhiana and final destination at Chandigarh and vice versa. Two solar-powered pods can travel at a time carrying 46 people followed by other pod pairs after short intervals. After the pre-feasibility study, work on the project is expected to start by the end of 2021 and finish in 2029.
"After the MoU is signed and a pre-feasibility study is carried out by the company, it will then be decided how to go about the project in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, private mode or any other way. The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs 56,000 crore," said an official.
Speaking to this correspondent, Additional Chief Secretary (Investment Promotion and Industry and Commerce, Punjab) Vinni Mahajan said, "The state government is proposing to sign an MoU with this company for bringing this new technology, which will be beneficial in the long run, to the state. Then a
pre-feasibility study will be carried out. The Maharashtra government has already signed an MoU with them."
It is learnt that this hyperloop is an open-source design of mass transportation system technology built around the tube and capsule concept in which a pod-like vehicle travels through a tunnel at very high speed and carries people and freight.
The Maharashtra government has already signed an MoU with the company for this technology so that the pods can run between Mumbai and Pune, reducing the travel time between both cities to 23 minutes.