Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart from Japan Shinzo Abe laid the foundation for the country’s first high speed train project Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train in Ahmedabad.
Prime Minister Modi described the bullet train as “symbol of New India” and stressed that the country must focus on creating high speed connectivity infrastructure as the transport is the future.
“The high speed trains will usher in next generation economic growth with multiple employment opportunities,” he said.
“I hope to enjoy the beauty of India through the windows of the Bullet Train when I come to India in a few years,” Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said while addressing the gathering near Sabarmati Railway station in Ahmedabad.
The 508 km long project to be built with estimated investment of ₹ 1,08,000 crore will be funded up to 81 per cent by Japan with soft loan of ₹ 88,000 crore at interest rate of 0.1 per cent with repayment period 50 years.
“It is for the first time in history in India that an infrastructure project is being funded on such favourable terms,” a release issued by the Gujarat government stated, claiming the entire project would be funded without putting any strain on existing financial resources of the country.
The release stated that the project testing and commissioning date has been advanced from December 2023 to August 2022.
According to the details of the project, the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra 155.642 kms and Gujarat 350.530 kms and one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2 kms. The double track project involves 21 km tunnel with seven km under sea tunnel at Thane Creek in Mumbai.
There will be 12 stations starting from underground station in Mumbai while remaining stations at Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati will be elevated.
As part of the project, a dedicated High Speed Rail Training Institute is being developed in Vadodara and will become functional by end of 2020. Around 4000 staff members will be trained in this institute and they will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the ambitious project, which will usher in the new era of high speed railways in the country.
The central government’s flagship Make In India will also get a major boost as the high speed train project’s implementation begins as most of the components, track systems and even rolling stocks will be manufactured in India with the help of Japan government and private sector companies involved in manufacturing railway components.
“The construction sector in India will also get a big boost not only in terms of investment but also with respect to new technology and work culture. This project is likely to generate employment for about 20,000 workers during the construction phase, who will be trained specialist to take up construction of such projects in India,” the release stated.