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The only high speed train corridor in south India put on deep freeze; Chinese blamed for the delay

The high speed train project in South India which has reached a conceptual stage between Chennai-Bengaluru and Mysore has been put on deep freeze by the Railway board. That the Chinese railway went back on their commitment after the Doklam standoff has ensured the project will be put off indefinitely. All the other high speed projects in various parts of the country are proceeding as per schedule.

The Chinese railway had completed the feasibility study for the project a year ago according to railway ministry sources. Both sides have not commented publicly on the status of the project

Three years ago India and China agreed to create a 2100 Kilometer long high speed corridor between Chennai and Delhi. An elaborate MOU was signed by both sides. The project has since been abandoned but no one knows why the project was jettisoned. Railways have now come with the announcement the corridor will be restricted to Delhi and Nagpur and Nagpur to Mumbai.

The Chinese company submitted the final report in Chennai Mysore corridor November 2016 and after that the Chinese team has suggested for a face to face interaction. No date has been fixed from their side said the note prepared by the Railway officials here.

Lack of response from the Chinese has led to the indefinite delay in the implementation of the project.

The feasibility study by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC) was submitted to the Railway Board in November 2016 and after that the Chinese company had sought meetings with officials of the Board.

The ministry officials blamed the standoff between the two countries in Bhutan's Doklam area for derailing the project. Another official pointed out that the standoff was a recent occurrence but the project has been hanging in balance since November last year.

China had in fact pitched for the Mumbai-Ahemdabad high speed network. The project was handed over to Japan. Beijing has also bid for the bullet train project in the Mumbai-Delhi sector, which is yet to be finalised. The railway board is looking at alternatives in this sector so that work is not delayed. The board has taken steps to speed up the Rajdhani express cutting the travel time by three hours in this sector.

But the railway corridor between Bengaluru and Chennai will remain backward for an indefinite period though both the cities contribute immensely to foreign exchange reserves of the country. The fastest train in the sector runs at 70 kilometers per hour.

China is also training railway engineers in heavy hauling. It is with Chinese collaboration that India is setting up its first railway university at Vadodara in Gujarat.

 


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