Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today laid the foundation stone for India's first bullet train, which will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The Rs1,10,000 crore project is expected to be completed by 2022.
The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours.
Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project, a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan's Shinkansen Technology.
The prime ministers of the two countries also laid the foundation stone for an institute that will come up at Vadodara where around 4,000 people will be trained for the bullet train project.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis were present on the occasion. Delegation-level talks between India and Japan have begun at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. A joint press statement is to be issued later today, ANI reports.
In a Tweet, the Prime Minister's Office said, ''A focus on next gen infrastructure...PMs @AbeShinzo and @narendramodi lay the foundation stone for India's first high speech rail project.
''Towards next gen infrastructure...foundation stone for India's first high speed rail laid by PMs @AbeShinzo and @narendramodi.''
Earlier this week, Goyal had expressed confidence that the project would be completed one year before the schedule. (See: Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train to be running by 2022: Goyal)
He had said the officials of Japanese and Indian Railways have set the deadline of 2023 but considering the pace of work, the project is likely to be ready by 15 August 2022.
The 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project (Standard Gauge) is estimated to cost Rs1,10,000 crore on completion. Out of this, Japan is giving a loan of Rs88,000 crore. The interest on this loan is minimal at 0.1 per cent and it is to be repaid in 50 years, with a grace period of 15 years.
While covering the 508-km stretch between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the train will stop at 10 stations - Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Sabarmati.
A railway official had earlier said the train would take 2 hours and 58 minutes to cover the distance if it took 10 halts, adding that with just two halts - at Surat and Vadodara - the travelling time would come down to two hours and seven minutes.