Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train by 2023
In a move aimed at fast-tracking work on Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s ambitious bullet train project, the Ministry has decided to start civil work next year.
The decision was taken at a crucial meeting on high-speed Railways on Monday, wherein it was decided that civil works pertaining to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train must begin by next year and make it operational by 2023.
Highly-placed sources in the Ministry said, “Given that all works, including feasibility and the Detailed Project Report (DPR )are ready, the ministry officials have been directed by the minister to start civil works of the project soon.”
According to sources, the top Railway Board officials, different stakeholders – including the authorities from Japan – which has offered to fund the project, were present in the crucial meet to decide final time-frame for starting work on the bullet train.
The sources added that members were also informed that an IIM-Ahmedabad report suggested that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train would have to ferry 88,000-118,000 passengers daily, or undertake 100 trips per day, for the Railways to keep it financially viable.
The total distance covered by the train will be 534 km.
The report, titled, “Dedicated High Speed Railway (HSR) Networks in India: Issues in Development,” states that if the Railways set the ticket price at Rs 1,500 for 300-km drive per person for 15 years after the operation, it will have to ferry between 88,000 and 110,000 passengers every day to ensure that it repays the loans with interest on time.
Japan has offered a concessional loan of Rs 97,636 crore to fund about 80 per cent of the project cost with a repayment period of 50 years, beginning from the 16th year of operation at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent. Japan has offered a 15-year moratorium on loan, so revenue concerns for the Indian Railways will arise from the 16th year.