New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the Mumbai-Ahemdabad Bullet train being built with Japanese assistance will be more or less in the self-financing mode and will significantly help the public transporter in upgrading technology.
“This (Bullet Train project) is a stand-alone project. This project is more or less on the self-financing mode. The Japanese Government has decided to give us almost the entire cost at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent to be repayable in 50 years and for the first 15 years we do not have to service it.
“So, if you ask a banker he will tell you that it is not only free but it is more than that,” Prabhu said while replying to the Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha.
Referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s comment he said “Kharge Saab has very rightly said that this Bullet train has been announced to run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad because the Prime Minister can come to Ahmedabad and I can go to meet him. I must compliment the previous Government for being so visionary.
“When they started talking to Japan about this project, Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, they knew that very soon Modi is going to be the Prime Minister and Suresh Prabhu is going to be the Railway Minister. I really must thank my friends in the Opposition for being so forthright…”
On why so much money is being spent on Bullet Train, Prabhu said “First of all, 85 per cent of this will be manufactured in India. The entire technology of knowing about it and the spin off benefit of this will be felt all across the railway network.”
Moreover, he said the Railways will not confine its partnership with Japan on one project and will seek its assistance in improving the safety standards of national transporter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, requested his Japanese counterpart “not to confine this partnership to one project and help us develop the railway network and increase the safety standards of Indian railways… Because the Japanese standards are the highest and the best in the world. Japan almost has a Zero accident rate.”
Prabhu said RDSO and Japanese research organisation have already signed an agreement for research and improving safety standards.