In a rather ambitious project, the Indian Railways is going to interconnect the four major metros of the country. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai will be connected with each other by a network of high-speed trains that run at 160 kmph, as against the current 88-90 kmph. Authorities are looking at August 22, India's 75th Independence Day to commence operations. The project called Golden Quadrilateral will essentially be a network of 10,000 km of semi-high speed routes. Indian Railways is already drawing up a blueprint for the mammoth project connecting Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah, Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Howrah, Chennai-Mumbai and Howrah-Mumbai. "We are still finalising the blueprint and efforts are on to officially launch the project by August 2022 to coincide with the celebrations around India's 75th year of Independence. However, everything depends on how we manage to meet every deadline set for the project", a railway official said, according to multiple reports.
The project has been assessed by NITI Aayog and is awaiting Cabinet sanction, which is also in process. According to agency reports, the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes were already included in the 2017-2018 Budget. These routes were estimated to cost Rs 11,189 crore and Rs 6,875 crore respectively. The cost estimates of the rest of the routes are likely to be included in the 2018-2019 Budget.
Reports have mentioned that it is estimated that a budget of Rs 36,000 crore will be required for this project.
According to agency reports, the board is likely to finalise a detailed cost estimate for the remaining routes by December 31 this year.
(With agency inputs)