Q. Since the project announcement has been made officially, what are the plans for the project?
A. The bullet train project will come up between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the timeline for the project is quite short. The loan finance agreement has been signed and planning is underway for other important matters such as allocation of funds, civil works including tunneling, elevated corridors and others. We are in discussion for manufacturing of specialised steel required for the project, manufacturing of wagons. However, the likeliness is that the wagons will be manufactured in Japan due to the short timeline. But, we are planning as much as we can with an aim to manufacture under the Make In India initiative. All the work is being done
Q. In light of the recent train accidents, do you think that the Indian infrastructure is up to the mark to handle a project like bullet train?
A. This project is independent of the existing rail infrastructure in the country. New tracks, wagons as well as stations are set to be developed for the bullet train. There will be a dedicated track for the bullet train which will not cross the current rail infrastructure and used only for the bullet train. India has bad technology and it is certainly possible to stop train accidents using technology. We are going to implement a safety system which will prevent mishaps on the bullet train corridor. Also, while a team is studying the safety aspects of this corridor, another team is studying the safety aspects of the existing railway network to stop accidents in the country.
Q. Alongside the development of infrastructure for the bullet train, what other plans are in the pipeline with regard to the project?
A. In order to have skilled manpower, an institute for Human Resource Development (HRD) for bullet train is being set up in Vadodara. Apart from that, a High Technology India-Japan Collaboration Fund is being set up to enable companies from both countries to set base in the other. An incubation centre is being developed at Ahmedabad which will focus on the bullet train project as well as facilitate the setting up of Japanese companies in India. Likewise, an incubation centre is being set up in Japan to facilitate the setting up of Indian companies in Japan. This centre will focus more on subjects like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Internet and Communications Technology and others.
Q. Are any other bullet train corridors in the pipeline?
A. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor is the most feasible and the project has been announced. There are no other projects in the pipeline as of now.
Q. Do you think that the bullet train will be affordable for the Indian population?
A. Yes, it certainly will be. The businessmen travelling along this corridor need to save time and hence, it is affordable and a comfortable mode of transport from Mumbai to Ahmedabad for them.