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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Could India connect with the UAE via an undersea tunnel?

Madcap design shows how floodwater could be exported from Mumbai to Fujairah via floating bullet trains

A plan published by the National Advisor Bureau shows trains could travel the 1826km route to Mumbai in less than two hours.Courtesy: National Advisor Bureau Limited
A plan published by the National Advisor Bureau shows trains could travel the 1826km route to Mumbai in less than two hours.Courtesy: National Advisor Bureau Limited

Fujairah to Mumbai in just two hours via a 2,000 kilometre underwater tunnel sounds like the kind of fake news usually reserved for sensational social media posts.

But when an Abu Dhabi design company uploaded a YouTube video showing how an 'ultra-speed' subsea railway connecting the UAE and India may look, people began to take notice.

Although only at a concept stage, the space-aged floating tunnel connecting the two nations across the Arabian Sea could carry passengers and oil at high speeds, designers claim.

A floating hotel, fuel stations and rest areas have been included in the madcap tunnel design.

The plan published by the National Advisor Bureau, a consultancy firm based in Masdar City, shows trains could travel the 1,826km route in less than two hours.

"It is expected that the project will help increase the trade and the influx of tourists from both sides," said Abdulla Alshehhi, managing director at the National Advisor Bureau Ltd.

"The floating underwater tunnel would consist of two curved concrete tubes, submerged below the surface of the Arabian Sea.

"Submerged tubes would be stabilised by being attached to pontoons on the surface of the sea or vertical tethers to the sea floor.

"There would be enough gaps between the pontoons to allow ships to pass through and the tubes would be placed underwater, deep enough to avoid water traffic and weather."

Plans also show the possibility for other vehicles to travel through the tunnel, with further stations in Karachi and Muscat opening up the region further.

Designers claim the tunnel could be used to import water from the Narmada River, north of Mumbai, a tributary well known for flooding during monsoon season, with excess water exported to the UAE.

The Fujairah-Mumbai Tunnel and Subsea Ultra Speed Train Line Project is currently at the concept stage, and unlikely to every become a reality.

It is not the first time the NAB has come up with a whacky idea straight out of a science fiction film.

In 2016, the UAE Iceberg Project, was an idea to tow an iceberg all the way from Antarctica to Fujeirah in 2020 to provide a supply of pristine freshwater.

That concept was ridiculed by the Ministry of Energy, but as the race to bring the hyperloop technology to the UAE gathers pace — this latest tunnel design may not seem as far-fetched.

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