Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday to ‘clear misunderstandings’ over the ambitious Hyperloop project worth US $10 Billion that connects Mumbai with Pune.
Soon after the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government was formed in the state, there were reports of the new Chief Minister scrapping the project.
“When there is a change in administration and you’ve a big project going on, it is important to have a courtesy call. Uddhav Thackeray and the various coalition people that he has around them need to meet people who are doing big projects or those wanting to do big projects in their state,” he told mediapersons in Mumbai.
Richard is the founder of the conglomerate Virgin Group which has interests in aviation, hospitality, music, telecom and even space travel. He is presently in Mumbai to meet industry leaders such as Anand Mahindra, apart from the CM.
Branson also made it clear that the project will not depend on any funding from the state.
“One of the things we need to make very clear, because there has been some misreporting and political ramblings is that there is no money expected from the government at all…it is all going to be private money. The public will benefit massively from the service,” he said, adding they are ready to “get going soon”.
“We just need to see whether the new government is so keen as the old government (on the project),” he added.
The previous Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis had given the nod to the Hyperloop One project that aims to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Pune to 23 minutes, from more than three hours now.
However, some media reports said that the hyperloop project has been put under ‘review,’ by the new government as it is reluctant to put money on a transportation system that is yet to be proven.
Hyperloop is a technology that uses magnets in a vacuum tube to create conditions. It can shuttle people and freight at speeds of up to 1,200 km per hour.