High Speed Rail project to be completed by 2023: Masafumi Shukuri of IHRA

Masafumi Shukuri, Chairman, International High-speed Rail Association (IHRA)

In an interview, Masafumi Shukuri, Chairman of IHRA spoke about the opportunities of investing in India and what needs to be done to ensure that we continue to see a large flow of capital coming in to the country.

He said that the Government of India led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu have made some major policy decisions in order to expedite the High Speed Rail project in India.

Masafumi says the renewed energy in relations between India and Japan has opened the way for more opportunities for economic cooperation, especially in infrastructure.

The ability of high speed railways to generate economic benefits and transform society and as ‘a game changer’, IHRA Chairman Masafumi Shukuri said that it had the potential to transform India. He pointed to the Tokaido Shinkansen, now in operation for 52 years, suggesting that there was still a need to leverage the transformational impacts.

The use of an ‘exceedingly innovative’ financing model for the proposed 500 km Mumbai – Ahmedabad project supports suggestions that work could begin in 2018 with opening in 2023; and 81% of the cost would be funded under a 50-year loan at 0·1% interest with a 15-year moratorium. He confirmed that land acquisition was already in progress and that technical details were being resolved.

He also emphasizes that Indian Railways also looks at what other impact the high speed rail was able to bring in Japan. Apart from just records or achievements, it has impacted the Japanese economy and society. It brought decisive change in the lifestyle of the people of Japan. So it isn’t just transportation, but it is transformation for the nation.

He also said that people, human resources and software are extremely important factors in the operation of high speed rail. We are in a position to fully assist India in this sphere.

Personally speaking, I believe the Indian economy will further expand on a steady basis and will become even greater, he said; adding that Japan needs to work more on overseas markets and exert its strength in order to succeed and expand economically and, Indian market is thus extremely important for Japan.

In terms of investment and economic relationships, there has always been great potential between the two nations but perhaps, Japanese efforts have not been sufficient. I believe that, going into the future, the relationship between Japan and India should be wider and deeper. I am certain there will be more and more Japanese companies who will be taking such initiatives.

About Masafumu Shukuri: Mr.Shukuri is the Chairman of IHRA. Joined Transport Ministry(Present : Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)in 1974. From 1984, he went to a new post to the Japanese Embassy in Indonesia as a first secretary. After then, he held minister of Transport Secretary, Counselor of Cabinet Legislation Bureau, Director General of Road Transport Bureau, Director General of Policy Bureau, Deputy Vice Minister, Vice-Minister for Transport, Tourism and International Affairs. In 2011, he held Vice Minister of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and retired in 2012. Mr.Shukuri is presently the Visiting Professor of Tokyo University.