NEW DELHI: With country’s first bullet train project scheduled for commissioning in 2023, Indian Railways plans to send 400 of its employees to Japan for training in engineering, operational and safety aspects related to the project.
These officials from various railway zones having expertise in different areas will be trained at the expense of Japanese government. The first section of the bullet train between Mumbai-Ahemdabad is being constructed in collaboration with Japan, which has offered an assistance of over Rs 79,000 crores for a period of 50 years.
“It is a completely new technology and we need to train our officials in various aspects so that we have manpower having knowledge of its process and engineering,” said a railway ministry official, adding this will be the highest number of officers being send by railways overseas for training.
Railway is expected to close loan negotiations with Japan by end of this year and work is expected to begin in 2018 to ensure its commissioning in time by 2023. The total cost of the project has been pegged at Rs 97,636 crores and to be implemented in a period of seven years.
“There are lot of work that needs to be done like we have to develop our own standards for high speed rail network and those needs to be vetted. We should also have a regulatory framework for the whole system. These are being jointly worked upon,” the official added.
It has been agreed upon to adopt Shinkansen Technology for Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR Project. The cooperation of Japan on this project will also be fixed on transfer of technology and ‘Make in India’.
Railway has formed a National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV), with a paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore for the project. Railways has already allotted Rs 200 crore for the SPV and Maharashtra and Gujarat will have equity of 25 percent each, while the Railways will have 50 per cent in the SPV.
A final feasibility report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) suggested that fare of the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad may be somewhere around one and half times more than the fare of the first AC of Rajdhani Express and it would be around Rs 2,800.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in parliament had said that the fare of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail network will be affordable to people and less than the airfare between the two cities.