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Virgin’s Hyperloop One in India: Will it be another Liability or Will it help India Grow on a Global Scale?

Virgin’s Hyperloop One in India: Will it be another Liability or Will it help India Grow on a Global Scale?
Written by Aman Kumar Singh

Total time taken to deliver Pizza to your home is 30 minutes, average time taken by your phone to go from 0% – 100% is one hour or more, total time taken to reach Pune from Mumbai is 2.5 hours by car and double the time (5 hours) if you ride the Indian Railway. But the Hyperloop One will take only 25 minutes to take you from Mumbai to Pune. 25 minutes is the average time the Hyperloop One will take to travel back-and-forth between the two cities, even the fastest means of transport, the airplane takes 1 hour to travel between the two cities. Needless to say it will cut the travel time tremendously between Mumbai and Pune.

Recently Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited Virgin’s Hyperloop One test site at Nevada, US to see the Hyperloop One in action. Later he held a meeting with the company’s CEO and board member, Rob Lloyd. It was also reported that Virgin Hyperloop will send its engineers to India to conduct a test run of the Hyperloop. Before its test run the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) will construct a 15km long demonstration track between Balewadi and Gahunje next year in 2019. According to the officials of Hyperloop, more than 70 percent of the components required to build the Hyoerloop can be found and made within the state of Maharashtra so it will also make the super-costly scientific project cost effective (a little less costly). And the project’s total cost (around 3000 crores) will be taken up by the Hyperloop company itself. The Hyperloop will link Central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai for which an in-depth feasibility study is going on  and it is also targeted to connect 26 million people. The hyperloop will not only carry people but it will also carry cargo. Not only that, the proposed Hyperloop will also reduce congestion on the roads and expressways, reduce commute time and thus ultimately cut down the harmful greenhouse gases emission by up to 1,50,000 tonnes per year.

Now talking about real issues, the Virgin’s Hyperloop One is doomed to fail in India. Seeing that the insane amount of money the company will invest and the Indian Government will grant the land required for the huge project trying to bring ‘a marvel in scientific and transportation field’ in India it will face multitude of challenges some of which are hidden while some of them float on the surface. Given its completion in 2019 it is sure to clash with the 2019 elections which is one of the many problems. Yes, the project costs a fraction of what the Mumbai metro cost but what has become of the Mumbai metro with its decreasing number of ridership and the mounting amount of losses it has become a liability. The Hyperloop promises to give airline like speed on the ground and cut the commute time but after its completion will it be accessible and pocket friendly for the common man that still remains the question? India is still termed as a’developing’ nation rather than a developed country and the Hyperloop which is nowhere a normal technology will definitely be a sight for sore eyes and will have many implications. It will also bring India on a global scale but its production cost, maintenance cost will soon be too much for the government, the PMRDA or the Hyperloop to bear. And we all know what happens when the Metro Rail Corp doesn’t get its revenues, it increases the travel cost, again and again and again or the project have to be closed to cut down the losses.

It’s not that Hyperloop is a bad tech for India, it will surely make its presence known in the Indian and global media for the right as well as the wrong reasons and we can expect the reasons to be wrong more than right. But once the project reaches its completion it will be a marvel for India.

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Aman Kumar Singh

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