In what could be called a dream come true, it has been reported that Prime Minister Narednra Modi's most ambitious bullet train project - Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail - will be launched during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September 12-14.
The Hindu Business Line today reported that Japanese Prime Minister with his Indian counterpart will jointly inaugurate the bullet train project with the laying of foundation stone and a ground breaking ceremony.
According to the report, the inauguration is expected to take place in Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Earlier in May, Achal Khare who is the managing director of the National High Speed Rail Corporation said that the bullet train project would be completed by December 2023.
This is a Rs1 lakh crore project which involves construction of a 505-km line using Japan's Shinkansen technology.
In his last visit to India, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered to provide USD 12 billion of soft loans to build India's first bullet train. The loan was offered at an interest rate of 0.1 percent with repayment over 50 years and a moratorium for 15 years.
The Japanese government will be bearing 80 per cent of the total project cost and the increase in cost estimate has to be borne by both India and Japan.
During Abe's September visit, the loan agreement may also be signed.
India and Japan have agreed on a fully-elevated bullet train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Earlier in 2016, Japan proposed 25 per cent of construction on elevated corridor, 64 per cent of the work on surface (mostly embankments) and 6 per cent as tunnels.
However, the Rail Ministry proposed to the Japanese government to explore the feasibility of converting the entire route running through 12 stations into an elevated corridor to overcome the traffic.