States permit Rlys to conduct feasibility tests

Our Bureau

The possible routes

The routes

being considered for include Mumbai-Surat-Vadodara-Ahmedabad; Jaipur-Delhi-Sonepat-Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Amritsar; Bangalore-Chennai; and Kolkata-Jamshedpur-Patna.

New DelhiMay 16Twelve States have expressed interest in the proposed high-speed passenger trains through their territory.

They are Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

The Railways had sought feedback from States about their willingness to have high-speed passenger trains running through their territory and possible support for the project in the form of land, right of way to build elevated tracks and equity for the proposed project.

The routes being considered for include Mumbai-Surat-Vadodara-Ahmedabad; Jaipur-Delhi-Sonepat-Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Amritsar; Bangalore-Chennai; and Kolkata-Jamshedpur-Patna.

"These States have permitted the Railways to conduct feasibility studies over the next few months," said the Railway Board Chairman, Mr J.P. Batra, on the sidelines of a seminar on high-speed corridor organised by the Asian Institute of Transport Development and the Railways.

Corridor cost

According to initial estimates, each corridor would cost Rs 25,000 crore, excluding the cost of land, which the Railways expects to get from State Governments in the form of equity and right of way for building elevated corridors, said Mr R. Sivadasan, Member (Finance), Railways.

Of the total cost, equity could be Rs 5,000 crore, while Rs 4,000 crore could be viability gap funding.

About Rs 7,000 crore can be raised by developing multipurpose commercial hubs around station terminals on a public-private partnership basis. The ridership revenues could be in the range of Rs 11,000 crore.

On a per km basis, the track costs work out to Rs 40-45 crore for elevated tracks, though at ground level the cost would be Rs 15-20 crore.

The Railways may also make its high-speed passenger corridor `carbon-neutral.'

Calculating the extent to which the project would emit greenhouse gases, the special purpose vehicle undertaking this project can fund its clean technology options like wind energy and hydel power projects, said Ms A. Goyal, Executive Director, Railways.

However, at the seminar, several experts also expressed their concerns on the project. Almost all high-speed rails involve different levels of Government funding, they said.

Mr Arvind Mayaram, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, said: "The issue of affordability for the project has to be tackled by the Railways first."

Related Stories:
Rlys mulls financing options for high-speed passenger corridor

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 17, 2007)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.