With the bullet train project falling behind the target and the delay in submission of rolling stock bids by the Hitachi-Kawasaki consortium, the estimated cost is slated to increase further, touching nearly Rs 2 lakh crore.
The delay in land acquisition and other factors have already escalated the total project cost of the 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor to Rs 1.65 lakh crore from the original cost of Rs 1.08 lakh crore.
As per the monthly progress report, the overall physical progress achieved is 39.10 per cent against the target of 44 per cent, with a shortfall of 4.9 per cent until December 2023.
Financial progress of 44.36 per cent has been achieved up to 31 December 2023, with an expenditure of Rs 53,592.58 crore incurred and a spending of Rs 1,173 crore in December 2023.
According to the monthly report, total expenditure incurred in FY (fiscal year) 2023-24 has been Rs 11,410 crore.
The Japanese companies have sought more time to submit the rolling stock bids, a cause for concern for the Railways as it creates uncertainty and is also an indication of the increase in rolling stock cost.
According to the JICA loan conditions, only Japanese manufacturers such as Kawasaki and Hitachi can participate in the bid.
The Japanese companies are expected to submit the bids by the end of February this year, as no proposal was submitted in November 2023 and the last date of submission was extended to February 2024.
The Railways has made it clear that first section of the 50-km line between Bilimora and Surat in Gujarat will be operational by July 2026, with the procurement of the first bullet train from Japan.
The Bilimora-Surat section would be operational for a trial run of the first bullet train in India, as per the Railways.
It would be a phase-wise commissioning. After the trial run, there would be phased commissioning of the 352-km-long Gujarat portion from Sabaramati to Vapi by August 2027.
Currently, though land acquisition is almost completed, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) has taken possession of 94 per cent of the total land acquired.
The NHSRCL would procure a total of 24 bullet trains based on Japan's E5 Shinkansen technology for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor.
The bullet train will operate at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour, reducing the travel time between the cities.
Each Shinkansen trainset will have 10 coaches and be able to accommodate 690 passengers. The trainsets will be modified to meet the Indian conditions, such as the harsh hot weather and omnipresent dust.
The trains will be equipped with modern facilities, including a new range of toilet systems and changing rooms for babies.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!