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Budget should have provision for high speed trains: Modi

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said seriousness on implementation of high speed rail (HSR) should reflect in the railway budget and provisions for the same should be there to provide an impetus to the ambitious project.

"In the forthcoming budget of Centre, I expect that some seriousness should reflect on this (HSR)... some provision should be there for HSR in the budget and then things would start connecting," Modi said while delivering keynote remarks at the second HSR seminar organised in India by Japan here.

Narendra Modi. Agencies.

Narendra Modi. Agencies.

"If the GoI takes an initiative, Gujarat government shall never be behind. The state will not shy from making its contribution to this prestigious project and shall provide all sort of financial and logistics support to it," he said.

A project steering group under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been formed, which is trying to evolve an appropriate financial model for HSR implementation.

Modi said out of the HSR corridors identified in India, Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune was the most economically viable one and in the backdrop of Gujarat's key role in Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), it would be prudent to speed up its implementation.

"Amongst the six high speed corridors identified in country, Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune seemed to be most economically viable one," Modi said. The second seminar on HSR in India was organised by the Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Japan, in association with Ministry of Railways, Government of Gujarat and CII.

"Since 1980, HSR has remained confined to thought level only, now it should speed up. We all know that Western Railway (WR) is the most revenue earning region for Indian Railways, and within WR the maximum income comes from Ahmedabad," Modi told the Japanese gathering.

"It signifies that Gujarat has been contributing to railways right from beginning and indirectly to Government of India through the railways," Modi said, adding that HSR corridor would be remunerative in the sector.

Japan is among the few countries vying for HSR corridors project, which is part of Indian Railways Vision 2020. Indian Railways had set up a High Speed Rail Corporation of India in July 2012 for the implementation of HSR in India.

The pre-feasibility studies have been done for HSR corridors, Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km), Delhi-Agra-Varanasi -Lucknow-Patna (990 km), Howrah-Haldia (135 km), Hyderabad -Bhilwada-Chennai (664 km).

"Around 15 countries in the world have done major work on HSR and each one of them has evolved a system, technology and financial models in its own was... So after studying each one of them we can learn a lot and eventually develop our own model, which can be sustainable," Modi said.

"India is one country which enjoys good relationship with Japan. In the last three Vibrant Gujarat Summits, Japan has been an active participant as partner country with Gujarat," he said.

According to Indian Railways (IR), there are four to five countries which are thinking on implementing HSR now. "The developing countries are still struggling to make a financially viable model to implement HSR. On the financial side the issue is cost of Rs 125-150 crore per km for HSR," IR Executive Director PPP (Traffic) M S Mathur said.

"World over there have been very few private investments in HSR. It can only be made possible either with central or state government funding," he said.

PTI