The procurement of rolling stock for the bullet train project is slated to be delayed further as the last date of proposal submission was extended for the second time to February next year with the Hitachi-Kawasaki consortium seeking more time in the Rs 11,000 crore tender.
According to the JICA loan conditions, only Japanese manufacturers such as Kawasaki and Hitachi can participate in the bid.
The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) has floated rolling stock tender for the supply of 24 bullet trains based on Japan's E5 Shinkansen technology worth Rs 11,000 crore for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor.
Now the last date for submitting the proposal has been extended to February as no proposals were submitted till November-end, according to the Railways.
Originally, the proposals were to be submitted by October-end this year which was extended to November-end and now to February next year.
Though NHSRCL is gearing up for phased commissioning of the 352-km-long Gujarat portion operational by August 2027, the delay in rolling stock tender is likely to affect the overall progress of the project which is already running behind schedule.
According to the monthly progress report, the overall physical progress achieved is 37.4 per cent as against the target of 41.1 per cent with a shortfall of 3.7 per cent till October 2023.
As far as financial progress is concerned, the progress is 42.58 per cent with an expenditure of Rs 51,428.51 crore incurred upto October end and spending of Rs 1011.13 crore in October. Total expenditure in FY 2023-24 has been incurred as Rs 9,246.26 crore.
According to the original schedule, the first bullet train with 10 coaches is expected to arrive before 2027 so that it can be operationalised between Vapi and Sabarmati in Gujarat in 2027.
The high-speed train will operate at 350 km per hour, covering the distance between the two cities of Vapi and Sabarmati in less than three hours.
Each Shinkansen trainset will have 10 coaches and can accommodate 690 passengers. The trainsets will be modified to meet the Indian conditions such as harsh hot weather and omnipresent dust.
Nearly 349 km of the total 508 km project falls in Gujarat and hence in the first phase, the trains can start running on this portion. The work on Maharashtra side is delayed because of the land acquisition problem.
The trains will be equipped with modern facilities, including a new range of toilet systems and changing rooms for babies.
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