New Delhi (Urban Transport News): The High Speed Rail (bullet train) corridor is going to be built for the first time in the country and it is making headlines from the beginning. Earlier it was a matter of debate, but now it is in the headlines due to land acquisition. It is being said that the land is not getting acquired due to the opposition by farmers. In such a situation this project may lie down and its cost may increase. Mr. Achal Khare, Managing Director of National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) has shared his views on all such important aspects related to this project. Here are excerpts-
Can a change of alignment be required due to the problem of land acquisition or can it be late in the project?
Mr. Achal Khare: There should be no problem with the alignment. We have set the target for December 2018 for land acquisition. If we get 80 percent of the land till next May, then the project will run at its own pace. I do not think there will be any delay in the project.
What are you saying behind the scenes? But when will the public see the project speed?
Mr. Khare: There are many things going on. For instance, the work of training center in Vadodara is in progress. There is a depot to be constructed on 76 hectares of land in Sabarmati. The structures are being removed to clear the land. The tender is open for the Bullet Train terminal station in Sabarmati and it will be seen in January. Tenders for construction of two bridges are opened and new tender for construction of the tunnel in Mumbai will be floated in January next year. I think the work of this project will be seen catching up at the speed of July next year.
Are you sure the bullet train will run on a fixed schedule?
Mr. Khare: Although the Consultant of Japan has laid the target for this project on December 2023, it is our target that the bullet train should be run on 15th August 2022. In this case, we are promising that by 15th August 2022, the bullet train will start running, that means people will start traveling in it.
What about the first installment of the loan from Japanese agency JICA?
Mr. Khare: Japan has signed an agreement for the first installment of INR 5500 crores, but there is a special process of payment. Under this process, when the work is done for the first bullet train, the company will pay by the money of the Railways and then after Japan will transfer it to the NHSRCL.
Trains will be imported for the bullet train. Will tender for these trains be floated/will these trains be made in India?
Mr. Khare: No company in India yet makes bullet train, so we tend to tender for Japanese companies only. But according to the agreement, there is a term of transfer of technology. Indian companies will come forward in this direction, then they will have a firearm with Japan. After that these trains will start production in India. But there are many such devices, such as track fittings, electric poles, transformers, which are essential for bullet trains. Such devices will be produced here only. The steel structure will also be built here. Around 90 thousand tonnes of steel structure will be used. It will also be done under Make in India.