AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) bullet train project for which he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone here would bring pace to development in the country.
In his address after the ceremony for the 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail, Modi said that no country can grow if they don't dream big. "To grow one needs to expand his dreams and decide his strength to achieve that," Modi said.
"It's new India which has to fly high," the Prime Minister said.
"Bullet train is a project that will provide pace to development. Along with new technology it will also bring results faster," Modi said.
He said that with the foundation laying of the project India has fulfilled its very old dream.
"Bullet train will bring employment as well as speed. The Bullet train project is human friendly and eco friendly," he remarked.
Besides Modi and Abe, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were present at the event.
Modi and Abe also laid the foundation stone for the Vadodara High Speed rail training institute.
The high speed rail project, scheduled to be completed by 2022, has been financed by Japan.
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Of the Rs 1.08 crore, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent for 50 years. The repayment will begin only after 15 years.
The first tranche of the loan, Rs 6,000 crore, would be released immediately, while the remaining tranches will come after the completion of land acquisition.
About 825 hectares of land would be acquired for the project.
Of the 508 km stretch, 92 per cent (468 km) of the route will be elevated, six per cent (27 km) in tunnels and the remaining two per cent (13 km) will be on the ground .
The high speed train would also pass through the country's longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under the sea.
Twelve stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
The distance will be covered in two hours and seven minutes if the train stops at four stations -- Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. If the train stops at all 12 stations, it will cover the distance in two hours and fifty-eight minutes.
According to Railway Ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train would be 320 kmph and the maximum speed would be 350 kmph.
Later in the day, Modi and Abe are to participate in the 12th Annual Bilateral Summit in state capital Gandhinagar.
Abe arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit.