Modi wants Centre to put high speed rail project on fast track

Chief Minister Narendra Modi Monday expressed the hope that the Centre would show some "seriousness" in implementing the ambitious high-speed rail (HSR) project and provisions for the same should be there in the next Railway Budget.

"Since 1980, HSR has remained confined to the thought level, 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 a Japanese gathering at HSR Seminar.

"In the forthcoming budget of the 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," he said.

The CM maintained that his government will never be behind if the Centre takes an initiative. "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 Gujarat has earned Japan's confidence by preparing the ground for several Indo-Japanese projects like Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Dedicated Freight Corridor (DMIC-DFC).

Looking at Gujarat's rapid development, as reflected in the high revenues of the Ahmedabad Railway Division for the West Zone, Gujarat could develop Ahmedabad-Mumbai HSR on the PPP model, he said, adding that building railways was in the DNA of Gujarat's people.

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

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).

Modi said that out of the six 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.

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