Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) bullet train project for which he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone here would bring pace to development in the country.
In his address after the ceremony for the 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail, Modi said that no country can grow if they don't dream big. "To grow one needs to expand his dreams and decide his strength to achieve that," Modi said.
"It's new India which has to fly high," the Prime Minister said.
"Bullet train is a project that will provide pace to development. Along with new technology it will also bring results faster," Modi said.
He said that with the foundation laying of the project India has fulfilled its very old dream.
"Bullet train will bring employment as well as speed. The Bullet train project is human friendly and eco friendly," he remarked.
Besides Modi and Abe, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were present at the event.
Modi and Abe also laid the foundation stone for the Vadodara High Speed rail training institute.
The high speed rail project, scheduled to be completed by 2022, has been financed by Japan.
Of the Rs 1.08 crore, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent for 50 years. The repayment will begin only after 15 years.
The first tranche of the loan, Rs 6,000 crore, would be released immediately, while the remaining tranches will come after the completion of land acquisition.
About 825 hectares of land would be acquired for the project.
Of the 508 km stretch, 92% (468 km) of the route will be elevated, 6% (27 km) in tunnels and the remaining 2% (13 km) will be on the ground .
The high speed train would also pass through the country's longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under the sea.
Twelve stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
The distance will be covered in two hours and seven minutes if the train stops at four stations—Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. If the train stops at all 12 stations, it will cover the distance in two hours and fifty-eight minutes.
According to Railway Ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train would be 320 kmph and the maximum speed would be 350 kmph.
India, Japan sign 15 agreements
India and Japan on Thursday signed 15 agreements, including one to give a fillip to India's Act East policy by enhancing connectivity and developmental projects in India's northeast, and for more flights between the two countries.
The agreements were inked after the annual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here.
An agreement was signed between the Union Home Ministry and the Japanese government for cooperation and collaboration in the field of disaster risk management and to share experiences, knowledge and policies on disaster prevention.
In the field of skills development, an agreement was signed to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of Japanese language education in India.
An agreement was signed for an India Japan Act East Forum to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in the northeastern region of India in an efficient and effective manner.
Another agreement was signed between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to accelerate and facilitate Japanese investments in India.
India Post and Japan Post inked an agreement to implement the commercial arrangement of "Cool EMS" service through which fresh food can be sent from Japan to India in cool boxes for Japanese expatriates in India.
An agreement was signed on cooperation in infrastructure development programmes in the Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj region of Gujarat.
Another agreement envisages Indian and Japanese carriers mounting unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other's countries.
To promote institutional cooperation between India's Research and Information System (RIS) think tank and Japan's Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO) and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to strengthen the capacity of research and effectiveness of dissemination of research findings.
Three agreements, including an MoU was signed on cooperation in the area of science and technology.
Two more MoUs and two letters of intent were also signed in the area of sports cooperation.
PM Modi, Abe visit museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi
PM Modi and Abe on Thursday visited Dandi Kutir, India's largest and only museum dedicated to the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Preserving the legacy of the Mahatma. Both Prime Ministers made a tour of Dandi Kutir," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"The museum represents Gandhi's idea of people across lines of class, gender, age and community asserting a common right to slat itself: a symbil to inspire a pluralistic society to march towards independence, Purna Swaraj," a museum's website posting said, a reference to the famous Dandi March led by the Father of the Nation during India's freedom struggle. IANS