Admitting that the number of rail passengers had come down mainly due to improvement in highways, Union Minister Manoj Sinha today said introduction of high speed trains was the way forward, justifying the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Railways said it was the daily passengers whose numbers had come down primarily on account of improved highways.
On the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project, Sinha said the Japanese government will provide approximately 81 per cent of the project cost and the rest will be shared by governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat and the Indian Railways.
The Railways will be able to bear the estimated Rs 10,000 crore in around 6-7 years, he said, adding that the per kilometre cost of the project would be around Rs 140 crore.
Several members had earlier raised questions about the viability of the bullet train project.
Sinha said the government had also identified eight corridors to raise speed of existing trains.
These are Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Hyderabad- Bangalore-Chennai, Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad.
The Minister also said that to check fake tickets, a system of barcoding has also been introduced.