Russian public sector major keen on Rupani’s dream high-speed rail project

Gandhinagar: Russian public sector giant, RZD International LLC, has expressed keen interest to develop Rajkot-Ahmedabad high speed railways in a joint venture with Gujarat Government. It is a dream project of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, which his government had announced in November 2019 and within 15 days floated tenders inviting bids for technical studies.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani met RZD International LLC’s head of representative office and other executives, where the latter evinced interest in designing the project and its execution. The delegation even showed keenness in financing the project.

Considering the interest shown by the Russian public sector, the Chief Minister has convened a meeting on February 14 to put the project on the fast track.

During the meeting, RZD’s Vladimir Finov assured the State Government that once the design is finalised, within two years time they will complete the project.

This Russian company has also prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the 580 km Nagpur-Secunderabad high speed rail project. It has successfully completed 625 km long rail project between St. Pittsburgh to Moscow. This distance can be covered in 3 hours and 15 minutes.

The State Government’s own Gujarat Railways Infrastructure Development Corporation was assigned to prepare a DPR, but now when the Russian public sector is interested in the project the government will seek guidance of the central government.

Rupani hopes that if the high speed railway is functional between Rajkot to Ahmedabad, it will reduce traffic burden on the national highway between the two important cities connecting Saurashtra and North Gujarat.

Vladimir Finov has also shown interest in development of last-mile connectivity connecting ports to freight corridors of other major stations, passenger railways and goods train in future projects.

Primary estimate of the 220 km project is Rs 11,300 crore, while the annual growth rate of travellers between Ahmedabad and Rajkot is nine percent. According to State Government data, in the year 2007, 19 lakh commuters commuted between Ahmedabad and Rajkot and the number rose to 45 lakh in 2017. K Kailashnathan, Chief Principal Secretary to CM, MK Das, Principal Secretary to CM, Industries Commissioner Rahul Gupta and Industrial Extension Bureau Managing Director Neelam Rani were present in the meeting.