Is India ready for high-speed rail?

By  Raghav Thakur

With a key report from the Japan International Cooperation Agency into the Mumbai – Ahmedabad high-speed project expected this month, Raghav Thakur, looks at the prospects for this project and the country’s high-speed ambitions.

JUDGING by the current political atmosphere and the pronouncements of politicians, India’s plan to link Mumbai with Ahmedabad by a 505km high-speed corridor seems to be heading in the right direction. Yet this is in contrast with the reality of the situation where the pace of the project remains slow.The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which is currently summing up its final feasibility report of the project, has estimated a cost of Rs 988.05bn ($US 15.62bn) inclusive of price escalation and interest during construction, and a seven-year construction phase from 2017 to 2023 for what will be India’s first high-speed project.

A corresponding Japanese loan, with the precondition that 30% of equipment is purchased from Japanese firms, is available with an interest rate as low as 0.1%. But the Indian government remains tentative and undecided on whether to push ahead. More info


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