The NDA government’s ambitious plan to run high speed bullet trains has formally taken off.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday announced setting up of National High Speed Corporation Limited (NHSCL), a new company that will build and operate the 505km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor.
The NHSCL is a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the state government of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and will have an authorised capital of Rs 20,000 crore. “In the 2016-17 fiscal, we will infuse 200 crore as equity in the company that was registered recently,” said AK Mittal, chairman, Railway Board.
“A high speed passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai is being undertaken with assistance from the government of Japan. A special purpose vehicle for implementing high speed projects will be registered this month,” Prabhu informed the Parliament.
The Rs 98,000 crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor will be the first project that will be implemented by the National High Speed Corporation. Once the corridor is ready, bullet trains running at 300-350 kilometre per hour on the dedicated track will reduce the travel time between the two cities from eight to two hours.
The company will have two temporary directors who will be officials of the Railway Board.
Of the total project cost of Rs 98,000 crore for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor, 81% of the funding would come from Japan. Once work starts it will take seven years to complete the project.
Similar high-speed corridors are being planned for Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. Train-sets being sought by India are no different from bullet trains capable of clocking 300-350 kilometers per hour on dedicated tracks.
But in the absence of matching infrastructure, these train-sets will have to be suitably modified to enable them to run on existing broad-gauge tracks in India.