In order to provide high-speed connectivity across the country, the government has identified six routes for feasibility studies for high-speed bullet trains, it informed the Parliament. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, the government recently announced that feasibility studies are being conducted on six routes to connect India’s four key metro cities of Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata through a diamond quadrilateral network.
The routes that have been identified for feasibility studies are Delhi-Mumbai; Delhi-Kolkata (via Lucknow); Mumbai-Chennai; Delhi Nagpur part of Delhi-Chennai route; Mumbai-Nagpur part of Mumbai-Kolkata route and Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru.
The government is taking assistance from governments from France, Spain, China, Japan and Germany to complete these projects.
These six routes are apart from Mumbai-Ahmedabad project. India’s first Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is expected to be constructed by August 2022 with the help of Japan. Currently, travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad takes about 7 hours but after completion of bullet train project the travel time will be reduced to just 2 hours.
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project for a period of 50 years at a nominal annual interest rate of 0.1 per cent. Japan has given a moratorium of 15 years to the railways, which means the railways will start paying only after 15 years from the date the loan was released. According to estimates, the ambitious project will cost around $17 billion.