The future of Richard Branson-led Virgin Hyperloop One in India has been in complete darkness ever since the new, Uddhav Thackray-led government came to power in Maharashtra.
Virgin Hyperloop One’s ambitious Mumbai-Pune project, which was being touted as the company’s first-to-be operational transport system that would allow people to travel from Mumbai to Pune and vice versa in under 30 minutes, appears to have come to the point of being in a deadlock.
In bad news for Virgin Hyperloop One, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said that the state government will consider pursuing Hyperloop, a futuristic transport system after it is shown to be practicable in other countries. Pawar was speaking to reporters after conducting a review meeting with officials here.
The previous government in the state led by its former CM Devendra Fadnavis had approved Virgin Hyperloop One's plans to develop a high-speed line between Mumbai and Pune, which would reduce the travel time between the two cities drastically.
When asked about the project, Pawar, who also holds the finance portfolio, said it has not been implemented anywhere in the world yet.
"Let it happen somewhere else. Let it become successful for at least a 10 km distance somewhere abroad," he said.
Asked if the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state was thinking of scrapping the project, Pawar said he did not say so.
"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," he said.
Last month, Branson met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव ठाकरे यांची ग्रेट ब्रिटनमधील @Virgin उद्योग समूहाचे प्रमुख @richardbranson यांनी घेतली सदिच्छा भेट. पुणे-मुंबई दरम्यान प्रस्तावित ‘हायपर-लूप’ या प्रवाशी वाहतूकीच्या वेगवान तंत्रज्ञानावर आधारित प्रकल्प आणि हवाई वाहतूक क्षेत्राशी संबंधित विषयावर चर्चा. pic.twitter.com/YBegJgVF1R— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) December 12, 2019
The first phase of construction of the Virgin Hyperloop One in Maharashtra -- which will reportedly cover 15 kilometers demonstration track -- was supposed to start by December 2019.
The Hyperloop project moves passengers and cargo faster than traditional methods of transport. The Hyperloop tube vehicle accelerates, courtesy of electric propulsion in a low-pressure tube and floats above the track using magnetic levitation. Essentially, Hyperloop pods can travel at airline speeds with the help of ultra-low aerodynamic drag.
(With inputs from PTI / Photo: Virgin Hyperloop One)