Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, have joined hands to solemnize India’s first high-speed train project–Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train–which will bring an impetus to the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The 508-km-long project will cost around INR 108,000 crore. Japan will fund 81 percent of the project via soft loan of INR 88,000 crore ($19 billion), at an interest rate of 0.1 percent that can be repaid over fifty years.
The project testing and commissioning date was brought forward from December 2023 to August 2022.
According to a press release issued by the Gujarat Government, “The project will be entirely funded on favorable terms without significant impact on the existing financial resources of the country.”
“The construction sector in India will get a big boost in terms of investment and 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 to undertake such constructions,” the press release stated.
The press release also divulged the details of the project.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail will mainly pass via two states–Maharashtra and Gujarat. The train will also cross one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
The train will start from the Mumbai station. The other stations it will pass are–Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodra, Anand, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati.
A High Speed Rail Training Institute will be established in Vadodra, which will be functional by the end of 2020. Around 4,000 staff members will be employed and trained for operation and maintenance of the project.
Majority of the components, track systems, and rolling stocks will be manufactured in India with the aid of the Japanese Government. Private-sector companies will be involved in manufacturing railway components.
Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said, “The Modi Government’s astuteness in securing favorable deals through innovative financing, efficient implementation, deft diplomacy indeed stands out in this case. The bullet train will come to India almost for free.”
“Setting up of institutes signifies government’s intent and commitment towards creating an indigenous workforce for this as well as future bullet trains. The Japanese Government, while taking consideration India’s long-term plan for human resource development, has also offered to conduct trainings for Indian railways officials in Japan besides reserving fully funded seats for the Master’s course in the universities of Japan for serving Indian railways officials,” Lohani added.