Date of Post: 10 Nov, 2017
New Delhi: Indian Railways is working overtime on the India’s first “Bullet Train” project, aiming to complete it ahead of the August 2022 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ashwani Lohani, Railway Board Chairman, who has a reputation of a turnaround man, has taken up the task of monitoring & chairing the periodic review meetings of the project that is estimated to cost over Rs 1 lakh crore ($15 billion).
A High Level Meeting Held
- Last Thursday, Lohani held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan, which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Central government officials, Principal Secretary-rank officials of Gujarat & Maharashtra, officials of NHSRCL (National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited), officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the General Manager of Western Railway.
- “The railways is in no mood to delay the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project. Lohani will now hold a review meeting once every three months… And even on weekly basis, if required,” a senior railway board member.
- “The attendance of the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman, the Japanese Ambassador and the CRB in the review meeting is a clear signal that the government is taking the project seriously and there is no scope for any delay,” the official said.
- He said,“The CRB wants Indian Railway officials to take lessons from their Japanese counterparts about meeting deadlines.”
Consultancy & Civil Engineering Works By January 2018
- It was also decided at the meeting that “a road map for consultancy and civil engineering works will be prepared by January 2018,” the official said.
- A report on the signalling system & electrical reports would be ready by April 2018, a ministry official associated with the Bullet Train project said.
- The rail tracks and most of the signalling system would be brought from Japan, According to the official.
The Rs 1.08 Lakh Crore Bullet Train Project
- The 508km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project is estimated to cost Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion).
- Of the total Rs 1.08 lakh crore, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore at a minimal interest of 0.1% for 50 years and the repayment will begin only after 15 years.
- Of the total 508 km long stretch – 468 km of the route will be elevated, 27 km will be in tunnels & the remaining 13 km will be on the ground.
- The bullet train would also pass through the country’s longest tunnel of 21 km, of which 7 km will be under the sea.
- Twelve stations have been proposed that include-
- According to Railway Ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train would be 320 kmph and the maximum speed would be 350 kmph.
‘Make in India’ programme
- To encourage the Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, “an appeal will be made to Indian and Japanese companies to make use the opportunity to work together,” the railway official said.
- Meanwhile, the officials of the government of Maharashtra & Gujarat assured the railways of their help in land acquisition and smooth shifting of raw materials to construction venues.