The introduction of the Japanese bullet train technology in India will have wide-ranging economic and social benefits, a report in Nikkei Asian Review said. The bullet train line is proposed to be built between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, two cities 505 kilometres apart, with the help of Japanese ‘Shinkansen’ technology. A bullet train ride is estimated to take two hours and seven minutes between the two cities while the fastest train at the moment, Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi, takes a little more than six hours. The cost of the high-speed rail line project is estimated to be Rs 1.08 lakh crore.
“A high-speed railway that is safe, comfortable and punctual will give businesspeople just what they need, and it can trigger significant economic development,” Takema Sakamoto, the India representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, was quoted saying in the NAR report.
While many say that high-speed railway line is exorbitant for India and its citizens, Sakamoto said India’s current GDP per person is ‘on par’ with that of Japan when it launched the bullet line in 1964. He also said India’s initial investment can be recovered by learning Japan’s methods of raising operational inefficiency. He remarked that areas around the railway stations will also experience economic boom similar to what is being seen with regard to metro projects in the country.
Analysts have said the railway project may not generate revenues thanks to the prices offered by budget airlines on flights between the two cities. Also, the flight take less time compared to the train. Sakamoto said apart from the fare, revenue can be generated from the sale of goods inside the stations as well as from ads and the business activities around the area of the station.
Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and completed by 2023. The railway line will begin underground in the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, then travelling 21 kilometres through a tunnel including a section under the sea and then rising above the land near Thane. Much of the section through Gujarat will also be elevated. There will be a total of 12 stations, eight of which will be in Gujarat.