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NITI Aayog to get India-Bangladesh rail project on track

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ModiNITI Aayog will hold a meeting in New Delhi on June 18 in a bid to break the deadlock on the proposed India-Bangladesh railway project, Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey said on Tuesday.

“NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has called a meeting on Thursday (June 18) to break the deadlock on the 15-km Agartala-Akhaura rail project along Tripura,” Dey told reporters here.

Meanwhile, a senior state official said that the central government was “yet to provide funds for the project”. NITI Aayog’s chief executive officer or special secretary will preside over the Delhi meeting, where officials of ministries of railway, development of northeastern region and external affairs and the Tripura government will participate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina discussed the project during Modi’s official visit to Dhaka on June 6-7. The Rs.575-crore ($90 million) railway project was finalised in January 2010 during the Bangladesh prime minister’s meeting with then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

“The central government is yet to provide required funds for the project. Land acquisition and subsequent works for the rail project to connect Tripura with Bangladesh will be delayed as a result,” a top state government official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

He said the state government recently approached the railway ministry again to allocate funds. “No funds were allocated in the railway budget for 2015-16, even for land acquisition,” the official said.

The project cost was earlier estimated at Rs.271 crore. In addition, Rs.302 crore was needed to acquire around 98 acres of land in India for laying the tracks.”Work to lay the 15-km railway track to link Tripura capital Agartala with Bangladesh’s south-eastern Akhaura city is yet to start although the two countries are very serious about executing the project,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said.

State-owned Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) is expected to lay the tracks on both sides of the border, with five km falling in the Indian territory and the remaining in Bangladesh. “The new railway connectivity between the northeastern state and Bangladesh will boost socio-economic, trade and business ties between the two countries,” the transport minister said.

The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to only 515 km once the rail track is constructed through Bangladesh. The NFR is the nodal agency for the project, for which alignment of rail line and other technical details were finalised by officials of both India and Bangladesh.

-(IANS)

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All you need to know about India’s first bullet train with 350 km/hr top speed

India's first bullet train is expected to be ready by 2022.

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Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world. Wikimedia Common
Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world. Wikimedia Common

NEW DELHI: After many years of tussle, India is finally on its way to get high-speed rail transportation in the form of the bullet train. A couple of months back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe has inked a deal for India’s first high-speed bullet train. The project was inaugurated near the Sabarmati River which will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Japan has mastered the art of high-speed rail networks and will be extending full support to India. The crux of it can be taken out from the fact that since the beginning of Bullet trains in Japan, there is not even a single incident of an accident. Japan has also offered its Shinkansen bullet train technology which is among the fastest in the world.

India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India. Wikimedia Commons
India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India. Wikimedia Commons

With the approval of the Bullet train project, the government claims to revolutionize the whole railway infrastructure. But at the same time, critics have started raising a lot of questions regarding the safety-related issues of new this project. As Indian railways have already gone through a number of derailments incident in the recent past which have resulted in the loss of human lives. So, it would be better to revamp the existing structure rather than betting for new projects.

But now as the Bullet train has got the approval from the government’s side, it would be interesting to see the train journey to reach a whole new horizon. The highlight of the project goes as under:

• The project which is expected to be completed by 2022 will cover a stretch of 508 km and run at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour. The distance is supposed to be covered stretch in less than three hours.
• For the convenience of the customers, there will be two options on the offer:
a. High-speed: This option will take you to the destination in 2.58 hours.
b. Rapid high-speed: This option will take lesser time as compared to the other and will cover the distance in 2.07 hours.
• There is an estimated cost of Rs1,10,000 crore for the 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project. Japan will be aiding the project with a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore and the grace period will of 15 years. Moreover, the time period for repayment of the loan will be for 50 years and the interest rate would be as low as 0.1%. The total cost of the project will be collectively borne by Indian Railways, Maharashtra and Gujarat governments.

Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons
Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons

• The presently proposed stations will include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati.
• As per the reports of the railway ministry, the Bullet train will be zooming at the speed of 320 kilometers per hour and maximum speed will clock at 350 kilometers per hour. Thus, with the given speed, the train would take 2 hours and 58 minutes.
• According to the drafted plan, Bullet train will make70 rides to and fro from Ahmedabad to Mumbai a day.
• India will be importing 24 high-speed trains from the Japan and rest will be manufactured in India.
• High-speed train corridor will include an elevated, underground and undersea tunnel. The train will be running 21 kilometers underground and out of that there will be 7 kilometers travel under the sea.
• The Bullet train will be serving around 1300 passenger at one go with it’s 10 and 16 coaches and will have a business and standard class with prices comparable with the base AC 2-tier fare of the Rajdhani Express.

The Bullet Train will have business and standard class. Wikimedia Commons
The Bullet Train will have business and standard class. Wikimedia Commons

• Indian Railways and National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited will be taking care of the provided services in the Bullet Train.
• The project will need around 825 hectares of land with the construction of tunnels between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai.
• The proposed employment from the Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs which will include about 4,000 technical staff.
• The next project of Indian Railways will include a high-speed train from Delhi to Amritsar via Chandigarh. The estimated route will be of 458 km long and will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes to run the entire distance.