It is true that the questions on high-speed rail (HSR) will end, only when it becomes operational and starts getting more than enough patronage from the public and becomes financially viable, making others to clamour for HSR in their regions too. Even by the earliest deadline, this will take six to seven years to realise and it will be too late if the answers are not told now.
The first is the politics of HSR. Any big idea from the conceptualisation to actualisation, whether it is GST or HSR, cannot happen in five, or even 10 years. Like the Goods and Services Tax, the contribution of the UPA government was substantial in the HSR project. It was conceived in the Railway budget of 2007, presented by Lalu Prasad Yada, the first pre-feasibility study of Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune by Systra, RITES and Italfer consortium was prepared in 2009. After being in cold storage for about four years, UPA-II asked Japan to prepare a detailed feasibility study for Ahmedabad-Mumbai in January 2014 leaving Mumbai-Pune, as it was estimated that the cost will be exorbitant given the topography of the route. Read More…
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