'Need to constantly improve infrastructure and address issues of mobility': Bansal

New Delhi, Feb. 1 (ANI): Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Friday said that in view of growing economy in the country there is a need to constantly improve infrastructure and address the issues of mobility of people.

Bansal, who inaugurated a two- day 'International Seminar' on "High Speed Trains in India-Issues and Options" being organised by Institute of Railway Electrical Engineers (IREE) here, said 'it is necessary to keep pace with the latest developments taking place world- over in Railway sector and technology'.

Referring to his own experience of high-speed train travel in Japan, Korea and France, Bansal said it is high time to think of such rail projects in India as well.

"The rapid urbanization, growing economy, rising level of educated work force and higher levels of income margins have caused greater growth in inter-city travel both for business and personal reasons. Hence, high-speed train services may be required to fulfill the demand gap for faster inter-city and inter-regional movement of passenger traffic," he added.

The Railway Minister pointed out that six corridors have been identified for techno-economic feasibility studies.

"The pre-feasibility reports, in respect of these identified corridors are at various stages of preparation and study. Government has already identified Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, as the pilot project . A Project Steering Group has been constituted which is examining the options available for this project and finalizing feasible options and also suggesting mechanisms for quickly moving forward," he said.

Bansal further said that this project needs an estimated Rs. 63,000 crore of investment and it is really a challenging task and the experts will have to work on a financial model which will be a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

"While these high speed services are premium services, in the Indian context a model needs to be worked out which makes it more affordable to the bulk of customers so that the introduction of high speed rail system in India becomes truly inclusive," he added.

Bansal hoped that the Seminar with the participation from national and international experts will yield useful recommendations and discuss all relevant issues and all options available on the subject of high speed train services especially in the Indian context.

He also inaugurated an exhibition organised by IREE on the occasion.

Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal were present on the occasion.

The two-day seminar would provide an opportunity to manufactures, developers, policy makers, various government agencies, technical experts and stake holders to discuss and review the present status on Indian Railways on existing routes and look for new technologies for high speed traction in India.

Concepts discussed and exhibited at the seminar will help achieve synergy in thought and action across users, suppliers and utilities. The seminar is expected to help evolve appropriate policies to make efficient technologies competitive. (ANI)

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