After a dull set of months with little progress, the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHRSCL) has finally invited bids for part of the 508 km-long Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project. However, officials claim that the terms and condition tilt the contract in favour of Japanese company. One of the dream projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has been keenly awaited by infrastructure companies. However, to the disappointment of many, the bidding process has been restricted to only Indian and Japanese companies.
“While this is a very prestigious project, the clause is very limiting for the Indian companies and is totally in favour of the Japanese companies. We do not think many companies from India would be bidding for the project. However, it is premature to make any comments right now,” a senior official from Railway Ministry told TNIE.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad line will have 12 stations, BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. Another aspect bothering bidders is that the work would have to be completed within 44 months. “The project is very challenging. I feel that the deadline of 44 months will be too early,” the official said.
Last month, to create some buzz among the general public, the NHRCL had also announced a competition to design an official mascot, as in the case of 2010 Commonwealth Games, Shera, and Air India’s Maharaja. The agency had announced a reward of `50,000 for the winning entry. “The mascot essentially should be a well designed character which will personify the value system of NHRCL and will also be able to communicate effectively. Naming the bullet train will provide it an identity which will help people to establish a connect with the bullet train,” NHRCL said in a statement.
In September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone and the government had set deadline of August 2022 for the project to become operational. Of the 508 km stretch, 468 km will be elevated, 27 km will be in tunnels — with seven km will be under the sea.
A long stretch
Of the 508 km-long stretch of the full project, 468 km will be elevated, 27 km will be in tunnels — with seven km will be under the sea. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad line is planned to have 12 stations: BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.