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Railways to consult other ministries on bullet train project

Indian Railways would consult other ministries like environment and finance before making up its mind on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed rail, given its supposed ecological impact and higher cost. 

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which submitted its draft report on the feasibility study on Wednesday, has estimated a substantially higher project cost and the passenger fares of the bullet train project.

Ministry officials said JICA made a detail presentation before the Railway Board while tabling the draft report. The agency would submit its final report in July.

An official said consultation with other ministries is prompted by the higher cost and ecological impact the project may have on the site.

The draft report computed the project’s total cost to be around Rs 90,000 crore as against the previous estimation of Rs 63,000 crore.

 The agency has also calculated passenger fares to be at least one and a half times more than the AC first-class fares on Rajdhanis, putting it on par with the airfare on the route.
Since the travel time between the cities will be nearly the same by rail as in the air, Railways believes the route would attract high volume of traffic and is determined to go ahead with the project despite predictions of higher fares.

Government of India and Government of Japan would be sharing the project cost on a 50-50 basis and the project would become operational in 2024.

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