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Lalu eyes Bullet Train

Lalu eyes Bullet Train

СНПЧ А7 Ульяновск, обзоры принтеров и МФУ

During his week-long visit to Japan in the second week of January, railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and the high-powered delegation not just travelled on super-fast “Bullet Trains”, but after his return to India Laluji announced his intention to introduce such trains in India linking several important cities.

Laluji also announced that he would float global tenders for accomplishing the ‘Bullet Train’ project and also table a resolution to the effect in Parliament.

It is pertinent to note that Laluji has been successful in negotiating a Rs 20,000-crore Japanese loan for the ‘dedicated freight corridor’ project. This is a big achievement for cargo transport in India. The first instalment of the loan is due soon and talks are going on for it with the Japanese authorities. While Japan insisted that it would charge 0.4 per cent interest, in the final negotiations the interest rate was fixed at just 0.1 per cent. Along with this, the 70 per cent of the project contract will also be allotted to Japanese companies. Under this ambitious project, the western corridor will link Mumbai and Dadri (in Uttar Pradesh) and eastern corridor will link Ludhiana to Sonagar. Both these projects would entail an investment of between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 55,000 crore. Since a separate department will monitor the project, it is likely that it would be completed speedily.

Apart from this, efforts are on to run Bullet trains on routes like Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Howrah, Chennai-Howrah along with Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Chandigarh and Delhi-Patna. The railway minister has announced that the project would be completed with global technical collaborations.

Laluji himself took a ride on the ‘Bullet Train’, known as ‘Shinkansen’ between Tokyo and Kyoto and while in Singapore he had announced his plans to introduce such trains in India. He also made it clear that he had consulted japanese rail authorities to known how such type of super-fast trains can be run on crowded Indian rail tracks. It is sure that once the Bullet Trains are introduced, they will ease traffic congestion on rail tracks and result in greater efficiency and productivity of the Indian Railways network.

Laluji feels that the Bullet Train project can be completed with partnership with Japanese collaboration and transfer of technical know-how to India. It is pertinent to note that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also has played an important role in this development. His two visits to Japan had renewed the age-old Indo-Japanese ties which had been slightly affected in the meantime.

In fact, the nuclear test conducted by India during the regime of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had shadowed these relations. Opposing the nuclear test, like many other countries, Japan too had imposed economic sanctions against India. In 2000, Prime Minister Vajpayee did send a delegation to Japan in which I also was included. During that visit, I noticed that young Japanese members of the Japanese Diet have strong opposition to India’s nuclear test. However, the fortunate thing was that the visit of the parliamentary delegation did result in warming up relations between India and Japan and now Laluji’s charismatic leadership has further improved the relations. Since, I had visited Japan in 2000, 2003 and 2006 and had met several ministers including the Prime Minister, Laluji included me in his delegation to Japan in 2009 also.

I appreciated Laluji’s great leadership qualities when he convinced the Japanese authorities that different corporations will be set up for different rail projects in given time. These corporations will be fully autonomous and no one including himself will interfere in their functioning. This was indeed a great decision, which also convinced the Japanese about the seriousness of Laluji. I also consider that Indo-Japan projects should be handed over to different departments. Private partnerships and joint ventures also should be formed to complete the projects. The efforts we are putting in the complete port and airport projects should be made in case of rail projects also. I am sure that such an outlook will definitely speed-up the project and ensure their early completion.

During his visit to Japan, Laluji was accompanied by minister of state for railways, R Velu, Mrs Velu, chairman of Railway Board KC Jena, his personal secretary Rajneesh Kumar Mahajan and additional secretary Vinod Shrivastava, managing director of IRCON, Mohan Tiwari, member of Railway Board Girish Pillai and myself.

(The author is a member of the Rajya Sabha)

Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the cockpit of a Bullet Train

Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, CMD of Lokmat Group of Newspapers and MP Vijay Darda and chairman of Railway Board KC Jena on a visit to a train factory.

Vijay Darda with a Bullet Train driver in the cockpit of the train

Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, minister of state R Velu and CMD of Lokmat Group of Newspapers and MP Vijay Darda inspecting Bullet Train tracks at a railway station in Japan.

Laluji himself took a ride on the ‘Bullet Train’, known as “Shinkansen” between Tokyo and Kyoto and while in Singapore he had announced his plans to introduce such trains in India. He also made it clear that he had consulted Japanese rail authorities to know how such type of super-fast trains can be run on crowded Indian rail tracks. It is sure that once the Bullet Trains are introduced, they will ease traffic congestion on rail tracks and result in greater efficiency and productivity of the Indian Railways network. Laluji feels that the Bullet Train project can be completed with partnership with Japanese collaboration and transfer of technical know-how to India. It is pertinent to note that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also has played an important role in this development. His two visits to Japan had renewed the age-old Indo-Japanese ties which had been slightly affected in the meantime.

Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, CMD of Lokmat Group of Newspapers and MP Vijay Darda, chairman of Railway Board K C Jena, additional secretary Vinod Shrivastava, personal secretary to chairman of Railway Board Rajneesh Kumar Mahajan, first secretary (commercial) Indian embassy at Tokyo Mohan Chutani and Japanese language interpreter (Govt. of India) Ashok Chawla with top officials of Central Japan Railway Company.