Japan’s Rs.4000 crore push for Mumbai Metro

TOKYO: In a double bonanza for the city, Japan has agreed to lend 71 billion yen (Rs 3,943 cr) in soft loan for the development of the underground third line of Mumbai Metro between Colaba and Seepz in Andheri as well as conduct a joint feasibility study for a high speed railway link with Ahmedabad.

This was decided at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

The Metro route which includes 27 stations is expected to cost around Rs 24,700 crore. Mumbaikars can now expect the third metro line by 2020, four years after the original deadline of 2016.

The two sides have already completed a joint feasibility study on upgrading the speed of passenger trains on the Delhi-Mumbai route to 160-200 kmph.

Japan has also offered 17.7 billion yen (Rs 983 crore) for phase 2 of the campus development of IIT Hyderabad, and assistance for Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing in Jabalpur.

The loan for Metro III will be given by the Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JAICA) at an interest of 1.44%. The overall cost to lay the 33-km underground route between Colaba and SEEPZ in Andheri via Bandra and the airport (27 stations in all) is expected to be Rs24,700 crore. Though the initial deadline was 2016, work is now expected to be over in seven years. “We can speed up the tendering process. The Japanese institution will monitor all developments and will assist us in implementing the project,” said additional metropolitan commissioner SVR Srinivas. The loan is the first of three instalments that are expected to cover 40% of the project cost.

Regarding the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor, Indian Railways and the French National Railway Company (SNCF), too, have decided to carry out an operations and development feasibility study. The project cost is estimated to be Rs63,000 crore, the route length being 534 km. The project will take 10 years to finish. With trains running at 300 kmph, travel time between the cities will be cut down to two and a half hours, against seven hours taken by Duronto, the fastest train on the route at present.

There is also a plan to introduce trains on the Mumbai-Delhi corridor that can achieve speeds of 200 kmph—double the speed of the Rajdhani Express.