India’s bullet train project constructed by Japan might miss the 2023 deadline. The $15 billion bullet train project connecting financial capital Mumbai with Ahmedabad, is facing major land acquisition problems. According to Bloomberg, “a year after the project was kicked off, only 0.9 hectares of land has been acquired out of the 1,400 hectares.”
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Land acquisition in India has been a major roadblock in the execution infrastructure projects such as railways, bridges and airports. Earlier, India unveiled a scheme to spend $60 billion over the next 15 years to construct over 100 airports. Chinese state media Global Times believes that land acquisition is going to a major problem especially in densely populated areas and “democratic” countries like India.
Chinese organisations might be enthused about India’s prospects, but they should be fully aware of the risks involved in infrastructure projects, warns the Chinese media.
Chinese organizations have been aggressively competing with other global companies from a major share of infrastructure development projects in Asia. Some companies are under competitive pressure to provide low-interest funding to obtain more orders. If high acquisition costs further squeeze profits, some medium-sized companies may have to give up on those projects.
Along with the development and promotion of the Belt and Road initiative, Chinese firms are carrying out or planning construction projects in more than 60 countries and regions. Land acquisition has been a thorny issue not only in India but also most economies along the BRI routes. The Global Times warns Chinese businesses to draw lessons from the bullet train project in India and find effective solutions to land acquisition problems during BRI projects.