Indian Railways bullet train project: Boost for Atmanirbhar Bharat! Indian companies to lay high-speed tracks

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July 1, 2020 1:49 PM

To explore if the highly technical work of laying the rail track of the bullet train corridor can be done by an indigenous engineering company, India is in discussions with Japan.

The move is expected to give a major boost to Indian engineering capability.

Bullet Train in India: Now, Indian companies will do a number of high-value, technical works for the upcoming Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, according to an IE report. These high-value, technical works were earlier slated to be done by Japanese firms. The move is expected to give a major boost to Indian engineering capability. According to the report, to explore if the highly technical work of laying the rail track of the bullet train corridor can be done by an indigenous engineering company, India is in discussions with Japan. On the 508-km stretch of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor, 27 steel bridges will be made by Indian companies, which was earlier thought to be the sole domain expertise of Japanese firms.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), keeping in view that no Indian company has worked on laying Shinkansen track that is capable of carrying trains at a speed of 320 km per hour, has reached out to Indian industry to assess the requirement as well as capability of domestic players to get this job done. Last Wednesday, a webinar was hosted to sensitize Indian firms and consultants about the job. Sources quoted in the report said that training for upskilling Indian players is being planned as well. According to officials, for domestic engineers, Indian companies laying the track would be a major capability upgrade and also this will go a long way towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in the engineering space.

According to the report, the Indian side has convinced the Japanese side that engineers of India are more than capable of making complex steel bridges. According to the sources quoted, the work for 65,000-ton steel fabrication for the 27 bridges in the high-speed rail corridor will be certified by Tiruchirapalli’s Welding Research Institute. Also, the cost of the work is likely to be “slightly cheaper” with Indian firms than with Japanese companies. However, rolling stock, signalling and control systems would be from Japan.

According to sources quoted in the report, a tender for the undersea tunnel which is a part of the 21-km underground stretch in the state of Maharashtra — India has held its ground that the cost escalation after accounting for inflation would not be acceptable beyond a level. India had discussed that the work cost should be based on estimates of the year 2015 and the calculated inflation, and not more than that. The 21-km long underground stretch from Bandra Kurla Complex to Kalyan has 7 km section under the Thane creek, with 1.8 km section under the sea bed, while the remaining stretch under mangrove marshland on either side of the creek in Mumbai. The tender for the tunnel project is expected to be opened next month, the report added.

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