Railways say bullet train on track, ruling out loan renegotiation with JICA
Amid concerns over the delay in land acquisition and the escalating cost of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, Indian Railways said the project was on track.
The railways have also ruled out any plans to renegotiate the terms and conditions of the loan with the funding agency Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the executing agency, faces a number of issues, including delays in land acquisition and rising costs.
So far, only 60% of the land has been acquired for the project, which has a deadline of December 2023.
Of the estimated cost of Rs 1.10 lakh crore for the 508 km long high speed rail corridor project, Rs 88,000 crore will be given to India as a loan from JICA.
While admitting that there will be an escalation in costs, the Chairman of the Railway Council, VK Yadav, also denied that there was any renegotiation of the loan with JICA.
“Yes, there is an escalation in costs, but now is not the right time to review costs. This will be done when we finalize the tenders. As in any project, we finalize the estimated cost based on the historical cost. But the real cost is not known until the time of the call for tenders. This is the time when we come to know what the cost of the project is, ”Yadav told reporters.
He also said that physical works on the project will begin after the acquisition of 90 percent of the land.
Tenders have also been issued for nine lots so far, he added.
“I want to confirm that there is no renegotiation regarding the terms and conditions of the loan,” Yadav said.
As for escalating costs, in some projects the cost is set to increase due to various factors including inflation or due to a design change, he said.
Earlier, speaking at the India Global Week event, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal indicated that the financial aspect of the ambitious high-speed train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was under consideration. .
“Of course, the Covid-19 has been a bit the key in terms of the ambitions we had around the high-speed train project and we are reviewing all the projects at the post-Covid world level which will lead to a lot of tightening of the belt, a lot cost reduction, ”Goyal said in response to a question about the progress of the ambitious project.
The high-speed train project was launched at a ceremony at Gandhinagar in Ahmedabad in September 2017 in the presence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.