New Delhi: The railways ministry has fast-tracked the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor by setting up a separate company, on the lines of the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC), which will build and operate the NDA government’s ambitious project.
The company will be registered in January. The process has already being initiated by Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), reflecting the state-run transporter’s intent to accelerate the actual work on the Modi government’s dream project expected to put the country’s railway sector in the big league.
To begin with, the company would be registered in the name of Indian Railways. At a later stage, the company would be made into a joint venture (JV) with equity participation of the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments. In the JV, the equity contribution of Railways is likely to be 50% while Maharashtra and Gujarat would have a stake of 25% each.
The public sector company is expected to build and also carry out train operations. It would provide access to private operators after five years of operation of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor with a suitable revenue sharing arrangement.
The company, which will own the assets created on the corridor, would have effective independence in decision-making and would be run as a professional entity.
A search and selection panel headed by the cabinet secretary and comprising secretary department of economic affairs and secretary, department of personnel and training would choose the managing director and other functional directors.
The railways have not only fast tracked the execution of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor but has also accelerated the feasibility studies of projects, under which Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Kolkata are to be connected by high-speed rail links. Modi has christened the high-speed train project as the Diamond Quadrilateral and it is seen as a platform for boosting demand in the transportation sector.
The project, to be built on standard gauge, is likely to cost Rs 97,636 crore and is scheduled to be completed within seven years. Japan has agreed to fund 81% of the total project cost (Rs 79,165 crore) while rest of the resources would be pooled by railways and the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The 505 km long corridor is likely to be extended to connect Mumbai with Delhi in the future. The railways has already received the inception report for feasibility study of the Delhi-Mumbai high-speed corridor.