The government is mulling making an investment of Rs 10 lakh crore into seven new bullet train projects. The report comes days after the Railways had indicated that the first such project on Mumbai-Ahmedabad route may see delay amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The new projects include - Delhi-Varanasi (865 km), Mumbai-Nagpur (753 km), Delhi-Ahmedabad (886 km), Chennai-Mysore (435 km), Delhi-Amritsar (459 km), Mumbai-Hyderabad (711 km) and Varanasi-Howrah (760 km).
"As of now, the government has asked us to prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) of seven new corridors. Capital costs can be decided only after the DPR is prepared, as a lot of things like terrains and route length are a factor," Business Standard reported citing Achal Khare, managing director of National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) as saying.
"All the new corridors may not necessarily be built using Japanese technology. Hence, the cost may differ," the daily also reported citing an unidentified official.
Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board V K Yadav had recently said a "real timeframe" for the completion of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train plan has to be "reassessed" as the land acquisition for the project has been delayed due to the coronavirus crisis. It also said that a clear timeline in this regard can only be provided in the next three to six months.
Yadav's comments came amid reports that the bullet train project may fail to meet its December 2023 deadline. "We are hoping that within the next three to six months, we will be able to get to that point where we have 90-100 per cent of the land. Our designs are ready and we are set to go," Yadav had also said.
"As the COVID19 situation improves, the Railways will start the bidding process and within the next three to six months, we will be able to get the status of land acquired. It will then be the appropriate time to reassess the project. Once the land status is ascertained, we can provide a real timeframe for the completion of the project," the railway board chairman had said.