Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Railway minister gets report on new corridor

- Srinand Jha srinandjha@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: The much awaited Japan Internatio­nal Cooperatio­n Agency (JICA) feasibilit­y report indicating a nine year constructi­on plan and a cost of `988,050 million to construct India’s first high speed rail corridor connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad was submitted to railways minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday.

Following the submission of the key report on PM Narendra Modi’s pet project, which aims to reduce the travel time between the two cities from the existing seven-and-a-half to two hours by enabling trains to zip across at a top speed of 350 kilometres per hour, the ambitious and capital intensive plan is likely to take to the fast-forward mode.

As first reported by HT, Japanese ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi led the official JICA report to submit the document after the completion of a one-and-a-half year long study.

The SNCF (French national railway) had earlier presented a business developmen­t report on the proposed line, which constitute­s a section of the NDA government’s plan to build a Golden Quadrilate­ral of high speed trains.

From the initial estimated cost of `650,000 million, the JICA has, in its final report, indicated a cost escalation by factoring price escalation during constructi­on (estimated at `172,212 million) and interest during constructi­on (estimated at `115,709 million).

Prabhu, who has promised “swift and appropriat­e action” following the report’s submission, is expected to move a cabinet note on the subject in the coming weeks. The project will be executed by the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and its subsidiary, the High Speed Rail Corporatio­n.

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