Calling the bullet train “extremely essential” for India, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said that the public transporter looked at it as a project that would unleash technology-driven transportation in the country.
The National High Speed Rail Corporation, a special purpose vehicle of the Railways and the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat, is implementing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor with technical and financial assistance from Japan.
The project has had its share of controversies with a section of people questioning the need for it and others agitating against its land acquisition process.
“The advent of bullet train is extremely essential for our country as it will unleash technology-driven transportation,” Lohani said.
“By running a bullet train, we wanted to commission a medium of rapid transport which can run at par with air travel as far as speed is concerned,” the CRB said.
He added that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor has a deadline of December 2022 and said the Railways was hopeful of completing it by then.
He was in Mumbai on Monday to review various suburban projects and held deliberations with general managers of Western and Central Railways as well as officials of the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation.
Among the projects discussed were capacity enhancement works under Mumbai Urban Transport Project, particularly the 5th and 6th lines between Thane and Diva as well as Kurla and Parel on Central Railway.
Lohani told reporters that the ministry was working to ensure the completion of big-ticket projects like the CSMT-Panvel suburban corridor.
He, however, parried questions on plans to convert CSMT, currently the headquarters of CR, into a museum.
“All I can say is that the glory of this incredible building will be restored and preserved by us,” he said on the issue.
D K Sharma, CR general manager, speaking on the closure of six clinics at its railway stations, said that the private operator had failed to adhere to terms and conditions set by the Railways.
“We are going to review what else can be done or what course correction would be required to restart this facility,” Sharma said.
These clinics, popularly called “one rupee clinics”, were shut at Kurla, Ghatkopar, Wadala, Govandi, Vashi and Mulund stations on June 14.
Lohani, during his visit, inaugurated various passenger amenities like a self-ticketing zone, mobile charging station and a day-night 1098 Childline help desk at CSMT.