Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Friday said state governments would have to contribute to help the ministry build the high-speed train corridors as getting funds merely from the budget would be difficult.
The minister added that high-speed trains should also cater to the aam aadmi and not just the premium travellers. The Railways have identified six routes for conducting pre-feasibility study for high-speed corridors including Delhi-Agra-Patna, Howrah-Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Thiruvanathapuram and Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad.
The pre-feasibility reports, in respect of these identified corridors, are in various stages of preparation and study. “The government has already identified Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, as the pilot project of this kind.
A Project Steering Group has been constituted which is examining the options available for this project and finalizing feasible options and also suggesting mechanisms for quickly moving forward,” Bansal said while speaking during an international seminar on high-speed trains.
He added that this project needs an estimated `63,000 crore investment. “Experts will have to work on a financial model which will be win-win situation for all stakeholders.
While these high-speed services are premium services, in the Indian context, a model needs to be worked out which makes it more affordable to bulk of the passengers so that their introduction in India becomes truly inclusive.”
There is no denying of the fact that faster mode of transport accelerates development...The introduction of high-speed trains would add to the country’s growth story as railways contribute about 2 per cent in the GDP, the minister said.
However, he refused to give any deadline for the project. The high-speed trains are proposed by planners for not just ensuring faster travel, it also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and have safety records across the world.
It was Japan that started the Tokaido-Shinkansen high-speed line and now 15 countries have high-speed trains running at the speed of over 300 kmph. Seven more countries are now in advance stages of planning on introducing high-speed trains.