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LIVE: Shinzo Abe, Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone of bullet train project in Ahmedabad

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-09-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will take part in a cultural roadshow—a pageantry running 8km from Ahmedabad airport to Sabarmati Ashram—after his arrival on Wednesday afternoon. Abe will be in India for two days for the 12th India-Japan Summit and business meet, during which both countries are expected to ink multiple bilateral investment and other deals.

The hallmark of the Japanese PM’s visit remains the laying of the foundation for India’s first bullet train n Thursday between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The bullet train project is expected to be completed by 2022. The train is likely to cover a distance of over 500km in around two hours.

Here are the latest updates and developments from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s India visit:

■ The Rs600-crore high-speed rail training centre for the first bullet train project will be set up in Vadodara, a senior official of the National High Speed Rail Corp. (NHSRC) said.

“This centre will come up on the five hectares of land inside the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) here,” NHSRC managing director Achal Khare told PTI.

“The training centre will have a sample track fitted with the overhead electrical systems to enable testing of bullet trains that will run on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route,” said Khare.

According to the official, this centre is expected to become operational by December 2020.

■ The Centre is confident of starting the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train on 15 August 2022 to commemorate the 75th year of India’s Independence, a year ahead of its schedule, a senior official of the railway ministry said on Monday.

The official, who in-charge of the bullet train project, said that while the deadline to launch the train will remain 2023, the railways is focussed to start it keeping in view the Independence Day celebrations in 2022. (PTI)

■ Railway minister Piyush Goyal said that the scheduled date of starting the bullet train is 2023. The 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed rail Project (Standard Gauge) is estimated to cost Rs 1. 1 trillion on completion.

Out of the Rs 1.1 trillion, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore. The interest on this loan is minimal at 0.1% and it is to be repaid in 50 years, with a grace period of 15 years. Goyal said that the project is expected to provide 12-15 lakh jobs. Around 20,000 in construction, 4,000 direct jobs for running the system and around 20,000 indirect jobs. (PTI)

■ While covering the 508-km stretch between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the train will stop at 10 stations -- Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Sabarmati.

The railway official said the train would take 2 hours and 58 minutes to cover the distance if it took 10 halts, adding that with two halts—at Surat and Vadodara—the travelling time would come down to two hours and seven minutes.

The bullet train will run at an average speed of 320 km per hour with a maximum speed of 350 km per hour. (PTI)

■ The meeting between Modi and Abe on Thursday for the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit will be held later on Thursday at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre in Gandhinagar where a series of MoUs worth billions of dollars in investments are expected to be signed between the two countries.

■ On Thursday, the two leaders will inaugurate the Rs1.1 trillion high speed rail project, popularly called the bullet train that will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai by laying the foundation stone at Sabarmati station—the planned first terminal on the route. Japan is extending a soft loan of around Rs88,000 crore for the project, at an interest rate of 0.1%, to be repaid in 50 years with a 15-year grace period.

■ Abe’s visit is seen as part of his efforts to consolidate the bilateral relationship between Japan and India, which was given a new thrust and heft under his leadership in 2012.

■ Modi and Abe will have dinner at Agashiye restaurant in the House of MG, a well-known heritage hotel in the walled city area of Ahmedabad.

■ The Sabarmati riverfront, with its heritage structures including the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, has been decorated ahead of the Modi and Abe visit. Ahmedabad was recently conferred the World Heritage City tag by UNESCO.

■ “The roadshow is scheduled to be held between 4pm to 5pm in which Indian states will display their cultural heritage through traditional dance performances like Bhangra, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Garba, etc. Students will perform yoga and there will be musical and other cultural programmes as well as part of the cultural roadshow,” said Ahmedabad municipal corporation commissioner Mukesh Kumar.

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