Mumbai (IANS) In an impetus to the dream journey between Mumbai and Pune in under 35 minutes, the Maharashtra government has approved the Virgin Hyperloop One-DP World consortium as the "Original Project Proponent" (OPP) for the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project -- a move that will generate jobs and over $36 billion in various socio-economic benefits.
According to Virgin Hyperloop One, the state government -- one of the first proponents of hyperloop technology in the world -- has deemed hyperloop a public infrastructure project, setting it up to be the first hyperloop project in the world.
DP World (DPW), a global trade leader and a major ports and logistics operator in India, is set to invest $500 million to complete phase 1 of the project, which will certify this new technology for passenger operations.
"Maharashtra will create the first hyperloop transportation system in the world and a global hyperloop supply chain starting from Pune. Maharashtra and India are at the forefront of hyperloop infrastructure building now and this is a moment of pride for our people," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The hyperloop project will link central Pune with Mumbai in under 35 minutes, as opposed to the current over 3.5-hour journey by road.
"The project will create hundreds of thousands of new high-tech jobs, generate over $36 billion in wider socio-economic benefits, and create new hyperloop component and manufacturing opportunities for Maharashtra to export to the rest of the world," said Virgin Hyperloop One.
"Support for hyperloop transportation systems is mounting across the world and India has led the charge to bring hyperloop to fruition since the early stages of development," said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at DP World and Chairman, Virgin Hyperloop One.
"To be named OPP is an incredible vote of confidence in our ability to deliver this advanced technology to the people of India and enhance their lives," he added.
There are approximately 75 million passenger journeys between Mumbai and Pune annually, which is expected to skyrocket to 130 million by 2026.
Virgin Hyperloop One's system can meet this growing demand by supporting as many as 200 million passengers annually.
"This is history in the making. The race is on to host the first hyperloop transportation system in the world, and the announcement puts India firmly in the lead," said Jay Walder, CEO at Virgin Hyperloop One.
"Once commercialised, it will transform the Pune-Mumbai corridor into a mega-economic region, moving people and cargo between these two centres in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
"This process creates a blueprint for a hyperloop network spanning the entire nation. We would like to thank the government of India, the state of Maharashtra and the partnering agencies for getting the project from vision to reality," said Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director of India and Middle East, Virgin Hyperloop One.
Virgin Hyperloop One has projects underway in Missouri, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, the Midwest, India, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Last month, Avishkar Hyperloop -- a student team from IIT Madras -- met Virgin Hyperloop One Co-founder Josh Geigel who praised India's effort to be the frontrunner in hyperloop technology.