Even as uncertainty looms large over the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), the executing body of the project, has been asked to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for six high-speed corridors in the country, of which two are in Maharashtra.
The two corridors that fall in Maharashtra are a 753-km-long Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur corridor, while the second one is a 711-km route connecting Mumbai to Hyderabad via Pune. The four other high-speed networks whose feasibility will be studied are Delhi-Noida-Agra-Kanpur-Lucknow-Varanasi (865 km), Delhi-Jaipur-Udaipur-Ahmedabad (886 km), Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore (435 km) and Delhi-Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Amritsar (459 km).
The new network is aimed at creating a diamond quadrilateral, which will connect major cities and economic centres of the country.
According to officials from NHSRCL, they are in the process to appoint a consultant to study the cost of the project, market demand to ascertain projected ridership and suitable form of construction such as underground or at surface.
The report, once prepared, will be sent to the Railway Board for scrutiny after which it will require a Cabinet nod. The report will also look at the possibility of inter-modal transport integration among various existing and planned networks.
An official from the Railway Board said, “We have asked NHSRCL to rope in a consultant and submit the cost for the DPR. However, no sanctions have been allocated for it so far.”
The NHSRCL, a special purpose vehicle created to execute the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, is yet to receive any funding from the Maharashtra government. Both Maharashtra and Gujarat had to put in Rs 5,000 crore each while the Railway Board would give another Rs 10,000 crore; 81 per cent is to be acquired through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).