Giving the first official indication of the likely fares on the government’s ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Achal Khare, the managing director of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), told reporters that the fares will be based on present projections and calculations. It would be Rs 3,000 between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and as low as Rs 250 between Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Thane, he said.
“There would be one business class and the fares for this, is likely to be higher than Rs 3,000. The journey will be much more affordable and less time consuming than in a flight, if the trip to the airport, getting boarding passes and security checks are taken into consideration,” he said. An official said, a taxi takes anywhere between one and one-and-a-half hours, to travel between Thane and Bandra-Kurla Complex and charges around Rs 650. With the high-speed train, the journey time will come down to only 15 minutes and the fare will be Rs 250, he said, adding that the fares would be 1.5 times higher than AC first class fares.
A train set comprises 10 ‘standard’ coaches, one of which will be business class. Food will be complimentary in business class and will be available in other coaches, as well. Khare said construction work under the project, could start as early as December 2018, by which time land acquisition is expected to be over. The ministry would require 1,415 hectares of land for the project and has earmarked Rs 10,000 crores for its acquisition.
“The Maharashtra government has already issued the notification for land acquisition and those who give consent for the acquisition of their land, will be given 25 per cent more than the circle rates fixed by the state government, or the market rate, whichever is higher,” Khare said. The officer also said 3,000-4,000 people will be directly employed by the executing authority, while around 30,000-40,000 workers would be engaged during the construction phase of the project.
Rubbishing reports about higher Japanese component in the project, Khare said only 18.6 per cent of their components will be involved and their contribution would be limited to a few stretches of the project, like building a corridor between Ahmedabad and Vadodara and the under-sea tunnelling work. “Indian contractors would build 460 kms, while Japan would be involved in the construction of only 21 kms, under the sea,” he said.
Safety and punctuality would be the hallmark of the high-speed corridor and Khare asserted that they will not hesitate from emulating the safety and punctuality standard maintained by Japan’s high-speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains. Khare said 360 people from India will be sent to Japan for training, of which 80 will be given on-job training there. Around 80 Japanese nationals are already working along with Indian officials, he said, adding, “As far as delays are concerned, it would not be more than 40 seconds.”
The bullet train will cover 70 trips per day between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and each rake will have 10 state-of-the-art coaches, Khare said. The proposed bullet train will run approximately 500 kms, at a top speed of 320 kms per hour and is expected to be up and running by 2022.