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PMO sets up panel to fast-track bullet trains

The chairman of Railway Board, secretary in the Department of Expenditure, Secretary DIPP & Foreign Secretary will be part of the committee

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

bullet train

The Prime Minister’s Office has constituted a committee under Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, to hasten the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, meant for bullet trains between the two cities.

The panel will interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking the next step in implementation. The Railway Board chairman, secretary in the department of expenditure, foreign secretary and secretary (industrial policy) will be part of the panel.

Officials said the Railway Board head will look after all issues related to overall operation and technical issues. The economic affairs secretary will look after all issues related to the financial outlay and his industrial policy counterpart the Make in India component of the trains.

PMO sets up panel to fast-track bullet trains
The Cabinet’s approval for the high-speed line was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Panagariya. Also approved was a suggestion to consider allowing private operators on the 508-km line.

The Panagariya panel had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding up to 80 per cent of the cost proposed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, at a 0.1 per cent interest rate (50-year repayment), apart from a commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.

It had suggested Indian Railways run the corridor for an initial five years, after which private operators could be allowed.

Bullet trains are run by state-owned agencies in France and Germany. The Japanese system was handed to private companies after two decades of operation.

In India the proposed trains will be run on a standard gauge line, covering 12 stations between the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai and Sabarmati at Ahmedabad. En route stations would be Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara and Anand. The train is described as having a maximum design speed of 350 km per hour.

First Published: Mon, January 11 2016. 23:57 IST