Undersea Bullet Train Project: India Starts Drilling Tunnel

India has started drilling a tunnel near its western coast, as the South Asian country is all set to begin the construction works of an undersea railway corridor in 2018.
The Indian Railway Ministry issued a statement earlier this week, saying that Japan would send senior officials to India for monitoring the construction works of the 7km-long undersea corridor that would connect Mumbai with Ahmedabad. According to the statement, drilling is an important part of the project as it will help ascertain soil conditions under water.
Talking to the local media in New Delhi, a top ministry official said: “Soil and rocks below the 70m-deep see are being tested as part of the geo-technical and geo-physical investigation undertaken for the entire project.”
Earlier, the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi confirmed that India would receive loans from Japan for implementing the project and the amount would cover 80% of the total cost (nearly INR 97.6 billion or USD 14.5 billion). Tokyo also agreed to allow India to replicate the system through which the Shinkansen bullet train service is being operated between Tokyo and Osaka. As the project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties, India accepted the Japanese offer.
During his trip to Japan in 2016, Prime Minister Modi enjoyed a ride on the Shinkansen bullet train together with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Modi also thanked Abe for giving virtually free finance for his pet project. Currently, it takes about seven hours to travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. However, the introduction of the bullet train service will reduce the travel timing by about two hours. As per the original plan, India will try to complete the construction work of the corridor by 2023.
Experts are of the opinion that PM Abe decided to help India in implementing the bullet train project as a part of his plans to counter China’s growing involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years.


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