The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor is expected to be completed in the next six years and its fare will be less than airfare, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday.
Maintaining that the ambitious project is doable, Prabhu in the Lok Sabha Question Hour said that the high-speed train project would be cost-effective.
The high speed bullet train is expected to cover 508 kms between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350 kmph and an operating speed of 320 kmph.
At present, Duronto Express takes about seven hours to cover the distance between the two financial centres.
Reviving an old debate on whether allocation of such huge funds will hamper those in other parts of the country, Prabhu said:
There was no regional bias. Every state has got more than double than earlier.
The high speed rail project has been sanctioned with technical and financial assistance from the Government of Japan with a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 percent annual interest, with 15 years’ moratorium while the joint feasibility study of the project has already been done by Japanese International Agency.
Estimated to cost about Rs 97,636 crore, 81 percent of the funding for the 508 km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor project will come in form of a loan from Japan.
Rolling stock and other equipment like signalling and power system will be imported from Japan as per the loan agreement.
Prabhu said feasibility studies for other high speed corridors including Mumbai- Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Nagpur and Mumbai-Nagpur have been awarded to various railway companies.
The Delhi-Mumbai high speed corridor has been awarded to the consortium of the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation (Chinese consultant) and Lahmeyer International from India.
Prabhu said railways have identified nine corridors for feasibility of semi-high speed rail. The semi-high speed routes are Delhi-Chandigarh, Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore, Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad.
(With PTI inputs.)