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Japan Offers $ 15 Billion for Bullet Train Project
Oct 28, 2015

Japan has offered to finance India's first Bullet Train, estimated to cost $15 billion, at an interest of less than 1 per cent.  China is also in the race which is bidding for other projects on the world's fourth-largest Indian Railways network. The project to build and supply the route will be put out to tender, but offering finance makes Japan the clear frontrunner.

  • Japan's International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led the feasibility survey.

  • There are several players offering the high-speed technology. But only Japan offers technology and funding together.

  • Japan was picked to assess the feasibility of building the 505-kilometre corridor linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad, and concluded it would be technically and financially viable.

  • Japan has offered to meet 80 per cent of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project cost, on condition that India buys 30 per cent of equipment including the coaches and locomotives from Japanese firms.

  • Last month China won the contract to assess the feasibility of a high-speed train between Delhi and Mumbai, a 1,200-km route estimated to cost twice as much. No loan has yet been offered.

  • The two projects are part of a 'Diamond Qaudrilateral' of high speed trains over 10,000 km of track that India wants to set up connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

  • The journey time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad would be cut to two hours from seven. The route will require 11 new tunnels including one undersea near Mumbai.

  • The feasibility report has already been handed over and the Indian government is now in the process of making a consideration. There is a lot of money involved in this. The different departments are weighing the implications.

  • Japan's push in India comes just weeks after it lost out to China on the contract to build Indonesia's first fast-train link. China offered $5 billion in loans without asking for guarantees, to build the line linking Jakarta with the textile hub of Bandung.

The average speed of trains in the country is 54km/hour, and rail experts have argued that the priority ought to be to improve the speed and safety on existing trains and routes.

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