As the government mulls moving the deadline forward for completion of the project from March 2023 to August 15, 2022 when the country celebrates its 75th year of independence, Goyal said, keeping in mind the speed with which the government has implemented all projects he is confident that this project too will be completed before deadline. The 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project will entail an estimated cost of Rs. 1,10,000 crore.
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As of now, the project cost is estimated at Rs 1,08,000 crore, 81 percent of which is being borne by Japanese soft loan at 0.1 percent per annum. The Japanese government has given other soft loans, such as for the western Dedicated Freight Corridor, but one loan can't be used for another goal. An interest rate of 0.1% over a 50-year term and repayment moratorium for the first 15 years, the funding from Japan for the High-Speed Rail, called Shinkansen in Japan, is nearly like a grant based on standard financial valuation calculations.
The details of the train are being worked out by officials from the ministry of Railways. The loan has a 15-year moratorium with total repayment period of 50 years. In a day, the high-speed train will make 70 Ahmedabad-Mumbai sorties. The project is a joint venture between the Indian Railways and the Japanese firm Shinkansen Technology. The Railways Ministry has been bandying about 1.6 crore figure - passengers who are expected to begin using bullet trains between these two cities annually and this number should become even better, around 1.6 lakh commuters daily by 2050.
The opposition has rejected the project, questioning what is Modi government's "real priorities"-bullet trains or ensuing safe drinking water, sanitation and housing for all". In the first phase, the bullet train will cover 508 kilometres between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
The line will feature 12 stations: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati - all of which will be elevated except for the underground station in Mumbai. If the bullet train will stop at all 12 stations, then it will cover the distance in two hours and fifty-eight minutes.
To ensure safety and prevent delays on account of land acquisition, railway has decided that 92 percent of the route will be elevated, 6 percent in tunnel and only 2 percent will be on the ground.
"As to the railway cooperation, it is part of the practical cooperation between India and China".
Moreover, Goyal said that this move will open 20,000 construction jobs.
China has been aggressively marketing its high-speed rail technology overseas and in the past lobbied hard to get the first contract in India. The end of September marks the start of the busiest domestic air travel season, so the fares available for this period would rank among the highest in the year. In addition, 300 young officials of Indian Railways are being trained in Japan to give them exposure in high Speed Track Technology.
In this context, the project in India is a welcome opportunity for Japan to expand the Shinkansen sales, given that the South Asian nation is only at the beginning of a long-term program of building high-speed rail linking its major cities.