The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited on Thursday signed India’s biggest infrastructure contract for design and construction of 47 per cent of the alignment for the bullet train project. Although the super patient Japanese government has hailed the bold step, the 2022 completion target for the ambitious bullet train may be pushed by another two years as the NHSRCL has spelt out a four year duration for completion of the works from the date of commencement of the contract.
The signing of the contract agreement with Larsen & Toubro entails design and construction of 237 kilometre length of viaduct between Vapi (Zaroli village on Maharashtra-Gujarat border) and Vadodara in Gujarat for 508 kilometre of the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor.
Although the Indian government has been making sincere efforts to operationalise and gift India its first bullet train in 2022, to mark 75 years of Independence, the NHSRL press statement gives an indication that the train may not actually fly off the track by the projected deadline.
The press release reads, “The duration for completion of the works is four years from the date of commencement of the contract.”
Asked if the above mentioned statement means that the bullet train project would be delayed, sources in NHSRCL said that they would not like to comment.
According to the NHSRCL, the contract signed on Thursday also covers four stations -- Vapi, Billimora, Surat and Bharuch -- 14 river crossings, 42 road crossings, six railway crossings, including one mountain tunnel of 350 metres.
The Japanese Ambassador to India, Mr Satoshi Suzuki, attended the contract agreement ceremony for the longest civil work package (C-4) of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor. The Rs 25,000 crore package will be executed by Larsen & Toubro.
NHSRCL Managing Director Achal Khare and S.N Subrahmanyam, CEO and MD, Larsen and Toubro Limited, also attended the event.