New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The much trumpeted dream project of high-speed rail of the Modi government to reduce travel time between metro cities drastically has so far been confined in the study stage and is yet to come on the drawing board.
While the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail corridor is facing serious issues related to land acquisition and compensation to farmers, the government has joined hands with China, Spain and Germany to conduct feasibility studies of sections of the Diamond Quadrilateral network.
In the Rail Budget 2014-15, the study for setting up the Diamond Quadrilateral network of high-speed rail connecting major metros and growth centres of the country was announced. Feasibility studies were planned for network of trains linking Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Chennai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Delhi and both the diagonals – Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Kolkata.
The government has assigned the Delhi-Mumbai high speed rail corridor to TRSD, a Chinese conglomeration, for a feasibility study of the proposed route for running trains at a maximum speed of 300 km per hour.
The study is expected to be completed this year, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project to IANS.
China is also involved on the Delhi-Nagpur route, which is part of the Delhi-Chennai high-speed corridor, for carrying out feasibility study of the section. The study is likely to be completed in January 2019.
While the Mumbai-Chennai corridor has been given to Systra, a French consultant, the Delhi-Kolkata route has gone to a Spanish consultant for carrying out a detailed study for running bullet trains. Both the studies are slated to be completed this year.
Spain has been given another section – Mumbai-Nagpur route, which is part of the Mumbai-Kolkata high-speed corridor, besides Delhi-Kolkata for conducting study. These are slated to be completed this year.
The Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru high-speed study is being done by Germany and is scheduled to also be completed in 2018.
The high-speed rail project under the National High Speed Rail Corp is estimated to cost about Rs 2 lakh crore. It is akin to the Golden Quadrilateral, which is a roadway project which connects four metros by expressways and falls under the National Highways Development Project.
The Diamond Quadrilateral railway project is to develop high-speed rail network across several metros of India. This quadrilateral rail network connects major metros: Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
On June 9, 2014, then President Pranab Mukherjee announced that a government project led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a diamond quadrilateral project and fulfil the demand of high-speed trains connecting metro cities.
(Arun Kumar Das is a senior Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected])