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JICA ready with report on high-speed corridor

india Updated: Jul 16, 2015 01:14 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times

A representational image of a bullet train in Japan. (Shutterstock)

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is likely to submit its final project report on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on July 17. The report estimates that India’s first high-speed corridor will cost Rs 988,050 million.

Japanese ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi is expected to lead the official JICA delegation for submission of the important technical report that indicates the way forward on executing PM Narendra Modi’s pet project. The corridor will cover the 505km distance between Ahmedabad and Mumbai and is expected to reduce the train travel time between the cities to two hours from the existing seven-and-a-half hours. The corridor is expected to enable trains to run at a top speed of 350 kmph.

Following the report’s submission, Prabhu is expected to move a note seeking Cabinet approval for the project. He is also likely to provide an outline of the project feasibility and timelines during the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning July 21.

From the initial estimated cost of Rs 650,000 million, the JICA has in its final report indicated a substantial cost escalation by factoring price escalation and interest during construction. Basic capital cost has been projected at Rs 700,129 million.

The Japan government is understood to have offered a soft-but-tied loan to build the corridor on the condition that India would source at least 30% of the rolling stock from Japanese firms.

The Japanese agency has suggested that the line be constructed on the internationally accepted “standard gauge”, as against certain opinions in the Indian establishment that the ‘broad gauge’ option be considered.

As the JICA’s final report points out, high-speeds running over 300 kmph are run on the Standard Gauge across the world.