New Delhi: With Indian Railways seriously pursuing the bullet-train project, Japanese companies have been called upon for a comprehensive micro-study on the 543 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad, high-speed corridor by the start of next month, on which such trains are to run for the first time.
The study will be financed and its terms and conditions will be finalized in the next fortnight.
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JAICA) will be conducting it. The study will take 18 months. “This time we are serious and the study is aimed at working out every details including viability factors,” said Chairmen Railway Board Arunendra Kumar in an informal media interaction.
The project which had been almost been shelved suddenly, was revived after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan. The high-speed rail corridor project found a place in the joint statement of Singh and the Japanese prime minister. Arunendra Kumar was in Japan this week on a four-day visit to follow up the issues which were agreed upon in the meeting of the prime ministers of both countries.
“The joint feasibility study will include every aspect including the cost to be incurred, how many passengers the project could attract, how much people will have to pay after the project becomes operational and all other issues. Japan has agreed to follow up the project after the study is complete,” Kumar said. Earlier, railways’ infrastructural wing and French firm Systra had carried out a pre-feasibility study of the Pune-Ahmedabad route on the possibility of running high-speed trains.
However, the government dragged its feet on the issue since it would cost Rs.63,000 crores. Pawan Kumar Bansal, the then railway minister had even said that the project is not under consideration.