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Bullet train project to be flagged this September

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will jointly preside over the ground-breaking ceremony of the ambitious Rs 1 lakh crore worth Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project in Gandhinagar in September this year. It will officially mark the beginning of the construction work for the Prime Minister’s dream project.

According to reliable sources, Mr Abe is likely to visit India tentatively between September 14 and September 17 this year. Incidentally both the leaders’ birthday falls within four days of each other.

The visit, sources added, has been planned in such a way that it will coincide with Mr Modi’s birthday which falls on September 17 and there is a possibility that the ground breaking ceremony may take place on that date. Incidentally Mr Abe’s birthday also falls just four days later on September 21.

Sources privy to the development said that though the final dates of Mr Abe’s visit are yet to be finalised, it is likely to be a three-day visit and may take place between September 14 to 17.

Estimated to cost about Rs 1 lakh crore, 81 per cent of the funding for the project is to be facilitated through a loan from Japan. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties. Maharashtra and Gujarat will also share 25 per cent cost each for the project.

A high speed training centre is also to come up at Gandhinagar, which will provide training to railway officials regarding operations and management of bullet trains. Currently some batches of railway ministry officials are visiting Japan for receiving training on the technical aspects of operating bullet trains, sources said.

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