Leaders prepare to pull the trigger on India's bullet train

Leaders prepare to pull the trigger on India's bullet train

Leaders prepare to pull the trigger on India's bullet train

Japan will provide 85 per cent of the total cost of Rs 1,10,000 crore bullet train project in soft loans.

Prime Ministers of India and Japan, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe, will flag off the project on September 14th in Ahmedabad. The high-speed train is created to have ten cars with 750 people capacity and is slated to carry around 36000 passengers every day in a total of 70 rides both sides.

The Railway Minister said that though the Japanese and Indian authorities had set the target of completion in 2023 but he is sure that it would get finished by August 15, 2022. Piyush Goyal said that the high-speed rail was envisioned by PM Modi to take Indian Railways towards most modern technologies like developed countries.

The Maharashtra-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project has a "Make in India" component, with the Japan External Trade Organisation coming out with a concept paper.

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While speaking on the bullet train, Goyal drew a parallel between the Shinkansen high-speed rail technology and Maruti-Suzuki, on which people had concerns initially.

Even if you ignore the fact that China first started planning bullet trains in the 1990s and just look at the date when construction first began - December 1, 2003 - of the 2,078-km Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu line, China's per capita income was under $1,300; today, when India starts construction of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai stretch, its per capita income is over $1,800. Out of this, Japan is giving a loan of Rs88,000 crore.

Japan is expected to sign as many as 10 memorandums of understandings with India relating to cooperation in different sectors. When it was conceived, Delhi's Metro was very expensive, especially in relation to the bus network, but it has changed the face of Delhi - and if it is one of the few in the world that is profitable, this is because the Metro was given lots of free land to monetize by way of buildings/advertisements; the same will have to be done for all bullet trains.

According to railway ministry, the bullet train project will generate almost 15 lakh jobs in India.

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According to the Ministry official the Indian configuration will have 698 Standard Class seats and 55 Business Class seats, effectively doing away with the Japanese Gran Class. On the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route, total 12 stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

"By going elevated, the land required has reduced by 50 percent from 1650 hectare to 850 hectare", said Railway Board, Advisor Infrastructure, Sushant Mishra. Goyal also drew parallel between introduction of Maruti auto in India three decades back and how it revolutionised the four-wheeler sector in India.

Railway ministry officials said the training institute at Vadodara will be functional by the end of 2020.The facilities at this institute will be utilized to train about 4,000 staff in next three years, who will then be utilised for operation and maintenance of the bullet train. The operating speed for the train will be around 320 kmph.

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