While work on India's ambitious bullet train project from Ahmedabad to Mumbai is in progress, Kolkata might also be connected with our neighbouring country China through a bullet train. As per Chinese Consul General in Kolkata Ma Zhanwu, his country is planning a bullet train service between Kunming and Kolkata, which will pass through other neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh. "With joint efforts of India and China, a high-speed rail link could be established between the two cities," Zhanwu said at a conference here.
"It will only take a few hours to reach Kolkata from Kunming if the rail link becomes a reality," he asserted. The envoy also said that Myanmar and Bangladesh would benefit from the project. "We may have a cluster of industries along the route. That increases the possibility of economic development of countries involved in the 2,800 km-long project," he maintained. The project had also found mention at the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) meet in Kunming in 2015, he said. The rail route was aimed at boosting trade flow in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor, Zhanwu said, adding that his country has been striving for the revival of Silk Route to increase connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata.
The 508-km high speed train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be operational by 2022. The bullet trains are expected to run at a speed of 350 km per hour covering the stretch in about two hours. In comparison, trains plying on the route take over 7 hours to travel the distance whereas flights take an hour. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is expected to be used by 18,000 passengers daily, with fares between the two cities likely to be around Rs 3,000 in economy class.
According to a study conducted by IIM Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train will need to make 100 trips daily and carry 88,000-118,000 passengers per day to be financially viable. Under the plan, India will also buy 18 bullet train sets worth Rs 7,000 crore from Japan. The deal will include a pledge to transfer technology for local production.
With PTI inputs