BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: It was considered a revolutionary idea for ultrafast commuting that was conceived and presented by American entrepreneur Elon Musk who is well-known for Tesla electric cars and SpaceX. Musk came up with the idea of using the principle of pneumatic mass transfer to improve mass transit. According to Musk, the infrastructure would involve a tube that would transfer people or goods between cities that are less than about 1,500 km apart and could travel at speeds over 1,200kmh, resulting in significantly reduced travel time.
The idea was sold to several countries including India, UAE and Europe. In India, impressed with the possibility, Maharashtra government was considering a ultra-high-speed corridor for the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop. Now, it seems, the government is backtracking as it feels that a project of such magnitude could turn out to be a risky proposition for the state.
After conducting a review meeting on the feasibility of the futuristic transport system in the state, Maharashtra deputy CM, Ajit Pawar said: “Hyperloops have never been constructed anywhere in the world until now, so let this be tried somewhere else before us. Once it is successful, we can think of it.”
“Let it happen somewhere else. Let it become successful for at least a 10 km distance somewhere abroad,” Press Trust of India quoted Pawar as saying.
Pawar further clarified that his comments on the Hyperloop should not be seen as a decision to scrap the project. “We do not have the capacity to experiment with Hyperloop. We will concentrate on other modes of transport and in the meantime, if that (Hyperloop) technology develops more with successful trials abroad, we can think about it,” Pawar said.
It may be recalled that former Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US-based transportation technology company, Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO).
In August 2019, the government announced that a consortium of Virgin Hyperloop One and global ports owner DP World would be the preferred operator to build “the first hyperloop transportation system in the world”. UAE’s Dubai-based ports operator, DP World has partnered with VHO and invested more than $90 million in the startup. In May 2019, VHO raised $172 million in funding to bring activate its ambitious transportation project.
An image released in 2013 by Elon Musk, is a sketch of the Hyperloop capsule with passengers onboard.SKETCH BY TESLA MOTORS/AP