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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson meets Uddhav Thackeray over Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greets Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson at his residence in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: Twitter/@CMOMaharashtra

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greets Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson at his residence in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: Twitter/@CMOMaharashtra  

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Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday to discuss the $10 billion Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop One project.

Mr. Thackeray, after taking charge, had started reviewing several projects, sparking speculation that he may set aside the hyperloop and bullet train projects.

The Chief Minister’s Office tweeted on Thursday that the two discussed the hyperloop and other projects being implemented by Virgin Group. A statement issued by Virgin Hyperloop One said Mr. Branson and Mr. Thackeray talked about how the privately funded project would bring foreign investment, create jobs for locals, and bring new technology to Maharashtra.

“I’ve always been so inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian people. I’m so excited that they’ve embraced the hyperloop concept and share our vision of creating new and sustainable transportation for the region,” Mr. Branson said.

“We are encouraged by today’s meeting and look forward to working with the State of Maharashtra in progressing the project,” said Harj Dhaliwal, managing director, Middle East & India, Virgin Hyperloop One.

On Wednesday Mr. Branson had said he would visit the CM to “clear any misunderstanding” on the project. “We just need to see if the new government is as keen as the old one,” he had said.

In August 2019, the Cabinet under then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had approved Virgin Hyperloop One’s plans to develop a high-speed line between Mumbai and Pune, which could become the world’s first hyperloop.

Permission was granted to a consortium of Virgin Hyperloop One and DP World of Dubai to build this project.

Several routes are competing to be the world's first operable hyperloop system, including Virgin’s Dubai and Abu Dhabi route. Elon Musk’s infrastructure firm, The Boring Company, has permission to to link Washington DC to New York through a tunnel, while another link is planned between Mexico City and Guadalajara in Mexico.

The hyperloop technology was conceived by Mr. Musk in 2013.

Virgin Hyperloop One, established in 2014, is one of the several companies planning to develop it. The company has also collaborated with DP World and Foster + Partners to create a cargo hyperloop network.

In June 2018, Mr. Fadnavis had visited the hyperloop test site in Nevada in the U.S.

(With inputs from Lalatendu Mishra)

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 12:25:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/virgin-group-founder-richard-branson-meets-uddhav-thackeray-over-mumbai-pune-hyperloop-project/article30287249.ece

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