India did Not Have Money for Bullet Train. But What PM Modi has Done Proves Nothing is Impossible

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train project connecting Ahmedabad to Mumbai on Thursday. While the Opposition was crying that we can’t arrange funds for Bullet Train, PM Modi has just cracked such a Great Deal, you will say he’s a True Genius.

The high speed train, with 10 cars and capacity to accommodate 750 people, is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours. Later, the train will have 16 cars which will accommodate 1,200 people.

Around Rs 1.10 lakh crore will be spent on the project of which Rs 88,000 crore will be funded by a soft loan from Japan. The completion deadline of December 2023 may be brought forward to August 2022 when the country celebrates 75 years of independence.

The Japanese loan will be available at Only 0.1% interest rate and India needs to conveniently repay this in 50 years. Repayment will begin 15 years after the loan is received. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, running at an operating speed of 320 kmph and maximum speed of 350 kmph, will pass through 12 stations — Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

Of the 508 km corridor, 468km will be elevated, 27 km will pass through an undersea tunnel and the remaining 13 km will be the ground. Though the fare structure is yet to be finalised, it could be 1.5 times the existing AC first class fare.

For travel from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, a passenger will have to pay between Rs 2,700 and Rs 3,000. The airplane fare on this route is between Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000. An official said luxury bus fares from Mumbai to Ahmedabad were around Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000.

Apart from this, work on a passenger terminal at Sabarmati and a training centre for high-speed train operations at Baroda are also scheduled to be announced at the function, which is to be attended by the chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra and the top brass of Indian railways.

We are in discussions with Japan to bring forward the launching of the high-speed train from 2023 to August 15, 2022, to coincide with 75 years of independence,” said a senior railway ministry official.

The high-speed training centre at Baroda will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore. Five hectares of land has been earmarked for the centre. According to a Japan International Cooperation Agency report, 400 trained personnel are required to run the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train.

As per the current arrangement, 300 railway officers will be trained annually in Japan for the upcoming operations. Once the centre in Baroda is operational by 2020, about 1200 railway officers will be trained at the institute in batches every year.

The high-speed rail will have 12 stations between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The proposed stations are Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

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