Bullet Train

A new company National High Speed Corporation Ltd has been formed to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. The 500-km corridor is expected to cost Rs.98,000 crore that will be financed to the extent of 81 per cent by Japanese lending agencies.

NHSCL has been formed as a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the state governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The paid-up capital of the new company will be Rs.20,000 crore. For the first year, the Railway Budget is likely to receive Rs.200 crore for initial operations of the company like finalizing its headquarters and appointing a full-fledged management board.

Much like what Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd is doing for metros in other cities, NHSCL will assist other state governments in implementing their bullet train corridors.

A joint feasibility study for the 505-km corridor was co-financed by Indian Railways and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japan, according to information tabled in Parliament late last year, has offered multifarious assistance to the project extending from technical matters, operations & maintenance and even financial assistance. Japan is willing to finance 80 per cent of the $14.7-billion project cost though terms are not yet finalized. No other country has yet offered such support to the project, it was further informed in Parliament. Reports suggest that Japan would expect India to purchase at least 30 per cent of the coaches and locomotives from Japanese companies.

The 505-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor is expected to decimate travel time between the two destinations to just two hours, from the present rail travel time of seven hours. The bullet trains are expected to run at 300-350 kmh. Most part of the corridor would be elevated, it is learnt.

More corridors: The Centre has commissioned feasibility studies on three more corridors. For the Delhi-Mumbai corridor study, a consortium of China-based Third Railway Survey & Design Institute Group Corporation, as the lead member, and Lahmeyer International (India) Pvt Ltd has been appointed. The Mumbai-Chennai study is being conducted by a three-way consortium of global consulting firm Systra, RITES (India) and Ernst & Young LLP. The feasibility study for the Kolkata-Delhi corridor has been entrusted to a consortium of INECO, Typsa Consultants (both headquartered in Spain) and domestic consultancy Technocrats Pvt Ltd.

There is also a proposal to conduct the feasibility study for a high-speed corridor from Delhi to Nagpur. This study will be undertaken through government-to-government cooperation with China, it was informed in Parliament.

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