Rail News

DATE

October 11 , 2021


ADBI study suggests India not yet ready for High Speed Railways

National Herald 
15 September 2021 (India)

Construction of one kilometre of high-speed railway track costs anything between Rs 100 to Rs 140 crore, 10 to 14 times higher than cost of laying standard railway tracks.

COVID-19 struck India in early 2020, and the country was put under general lockdown on March 24. The passenger traffic on railway tracks was immediately stopped. On May 1, India restarted running first special passenger train for migrant workers. One by one, special trains restarted, but railways passenger trains are yet to open completely. It caused unprecedented damage to the growth of the railways.

In such a situation, a reassessment is required on passenger traffic even for the proposed patchwork high-speed Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, not to talk about a high-speed railways network for the country.

The “Frontiers of High-Speed Rail Development” just published by Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) is worth mentioning in this regard which gives insights into the various issues involving the high-speed railways (HSR). It has tried to answer three important questions:

(i) When is a country ready to introduce HSR?

(ii) What should be the total length of HSR?

(iii) How can investment in HSR be justified?

The empirical review indicates that when a country has a GDP per capita that is more than $5,000, it is suitable for HSR introduction. However, during 2014 general elections, BJP had voiced its desire to build the Diamond Quadrilateral high speed rail project, which would connect the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai via high-speed rail.

After Modi came to power, a high-speed project was approved between Mumbai-Ahmedabad, which was to be completed by December 2023, but it is now not likely to be completed before 2028.

In 2014, India’s per capita GDP was $1,574, and in 2020 it was $1,901, a decline of 9.52 per cent from $2,101 in the pre-pandemic year 2019. It is clear from the first criteria that India was not ready when it was conceived, and it was not ready even in the pre-pandemic year. COVID-19 has exacerbated the economic conditions, and hence, we need a fresh assessment to know if we can even sustain our proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR.

Source
https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/wasting-precious-public-money-on-high-speed-railways-is-unacceptable-when-most-trains-dont-even-run-on-time

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