India's first bullet train
between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is likely to be completed by 2022, the year marking 75 years of India's Independence.
Railway Minster Piyush Goyal
told the media on Monday that the project would be completed by 2022, much before the earlier deadline of December 2023. The foundation stone of the project, which will get a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore from Japan, will be laid on September 14 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
The first tranche of the loan, Rs 6,000 crore, will be released immediately, while the remaining tranches will come after the completion of land acquisition. Japan is providing the loan at a minuscule interest rate of 0.1 per cent, and the repayment will begin only after 15 years. The interest on the entire loan will be Rs 7-8 crore a month.
"The initial tranche of Rs 6,000 crore will mainly be for the dedicated high-speed rail training institute and for building the Sabarmati station. We are confident about completing the acquisition of 825 hectares of land within a year," said an official close to the development.
Initially, the route is expected to have 35 trains per day. This might increase to 105 by 2050. The trains are set to run at a speed of 320-350 kilometres per hour and will cover 12 stations -- Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.