Modi, Abe lay foundation for India’s first Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project
The Rs 1,10,000-crore bullet-train project aims to modernise the country’s crumbling rail networks, which are prone to accidents and long delaysUpdated: Sep 14, 2017 21:11 IST
Hindustan Times, Sabarmati
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation of India’s first high speed rail project, linking country’s commercial capital Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the main city in Modi’s home state Gujarat.
The Rs 1,10,000-crore project – popularly called the bullet train – aims to modernise the country’s crumbling vast colonial-era rail networks.
More than 22 million passengers commute daily on some 9,000 trains across the country’s rail networks – the fourth largest in the world by track length. The existing rail services are prone to accidents and long delays. More than 200 people died in rail accidents this year.
Modi said the project will “bring speed with safety” to rail operations besides contributing to the country’s economic development in terms of generating jobs.
The high speed rail projects constitute a part of the “New India” plan, the Prime Minister said, adding that the NDA government’s approach would be to bring “more productivity through high speed connectivity”.
- 81% of the project outlay of Rs 1,10,000 crore funded through Japanese soft loan at interest rate of 0.1%, repayable over 50 years
- The high speed line will run through Maharashtra and Gujarat, besides the Union territory of Dadar, Nagarand Haveli.
- The line – which will be elevated – will be completely in 5-6 years (2022-23).
- Seven kilometers of the tunnel will be under sea at Thane Creek.
- The train will operate at maximum design speed of 350 kmph and a maximum operating speed of 320 kmph.
- Journey time cut down from 7 hours to 2.07 hours with limited stops and 2.58 hours with all stops.
- The line will have 12 stations including Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Vadodra, Anand and Sabarmati.
- Energy consumption per kilometer travelled will be one-third of an aeroplane and one-fifth of a car.
Addressing a huge gathering at railways’ athletics ground in Sabarmati, he said the entire stretch between the two cities will turn into a single economic corridor.
Later in a joint address to the media with Abe after the 12th annual bilateral summit between India and Japan, Modi said the “new railway philosophy” will be the lifeline to a new India.
“This is not just the start of a high speed rail,” the Prime Minister said.
“Keeping in mind our needs in the future, I believe this new railway philosophy will be the lifeline to a new India,” he said.
The two prime ministers also launched, through video conferencing, construction work for a high speed training institute at Vadodara to train technicians in operating the high-speed track technology.
An agreement for the high-speed project, a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan’s Shinkansen Technology, was first signed in May 2013 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Tokyo.
The bullet-train project, having a maximum design speed of 350 kilometers per hour, is scheduled for completion in 2023. “But we will be making efforts to complete the project a year in advance so as to coincide its launch with the 75 years of India’s Independence”, Modi said.
Prime Minister Abe describing the occasion a “historic moment”, said the new network was in line with the special strategic and global partnership that India and Japan were in the process of developing. He termed this partnership as “JAI” (JA for Japan and I for India).
The high speed line will have 12 stations including Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Vadodra, Anand and Sabarmati and will bring the journey time from the current 7 hours to 2.07 hours with limited stops and 2.58 hours (stopping at all stations).
Japan will fund 81% of the project outlay through a soft loan at an interest rate of 0.1%, repayable over 50 years.
Describing Modi as a “visionary leader”, the Japanese premier said his government was committed towards fulfilling Modi’s “Make in India” dream.
“More than 100 Japanese rail engineers had already arrived in India, while the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited would manufacture the rolling stock of the high speed train with the aid of Japanese technology. It’s possible for India to emerge as the world’s factory,” Abe said.
He also expressed the hope that India will launch more such trains in future with Japan’s help.
“From Sabarmati, the bullet train will spread across the country. To help bullet train run across India, Japan and our private companies are willing to do the required hard work,” he said.
First Published: Sep 14, 2017 16:36 IST