India ask Japan to float tender for Mumbai Ahmedabad HSR

This resolves a long-standing project impasse, as it had been reported that the cost of many essential items to be supplied by Japanese companies had increased up to 90 percent higher than project consultants’ estimates.

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Mumbai Ahmedabad high-speed rail / Representational Image
Mumbai Ahmedabad high-speed rail / Representational Image
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MUMBAI (Metro Rail News): India has informed Japan that the project’s land issues appear to have been resolved and tenders for the electrical and signalling systems and the rolling stock for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail corridor should be floated immediately.

According to sources, Japan and India have agreed to set a limit on the cost of the systems and rolling stock. If the prices quoted by Japanese companies for these items exceed that limit, the Japanese side will be responsible for paying the difference outside the parameters of the loan agreement for the project.

This resolves a long-standing project impasse, as it had been reported that the cost of many essential items to be supplied by Japanese companies had increased up to 90 per cent higher than project consultants’ estimates.

The Japanese government’s Japan International Cooperation Agency is covering 80% of the cost of the bullet train project with a soft loan that forces India to purchase all essential components from Japanese suppliers. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 1.6 lakh crore.

According to officials, the corridor of the Gujarat section should be fully operational by 2027 followed by the Maharashtra section by 2029.

“Since there is a cap agreed by both parties and since civil works are now being executed at a fast pace, there is no roadblock to floating the systems tenders for the Japanese firms,” a source said.

The Indian side informed their Japanese counterparts at the sixth Joint Working Group meeting for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Project that the tenders for the systems, particularly the electrical and signalling should be awarded by December to March.

V K Tripathi, the Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board and Satoshi Suzuki, the Japanese Ambassador, the meeting held earlier this month was co-chaired by them.

The National High-Speed Rail Corporation, the project’s implementing organisation floated the tender for the 21-km tunnel in the state on 23rd September which is a significant indication that the project may finally be able to put its land-related problems in Maharashtra behind it. The tunnel will be seven kilometres long and will be under the sea.

The tunnel is the 502-km corridor which is the most difficult civil engineering project. The tunnel tender is open to international competition and companies from Japan and India are both permitted to team up with other international players to submit bids.

The procurement of the rolling stock or the actual train sets was another issue for the project. Only Kawasaki and Hitachi are eligible to provide the rolling stock in Japan. According to sources, the Indian side had wished to prevent a scenario in which both companies jointly submitted a bid which might increase the price.

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