The Atmanirbhar challenge to bullet train
Corporations involved in the construction of bullet trains are pushing the project and the Indian firms involved are required to think and construct made-in-China alternatives for the machinery used in the construction of the viaducts at the desired pace. This machinery is currently only available in China. Because of the border tension in eastern Ladakh, the trade between India and China is highly affected. So the Make in India
As per Achal Khare, the Managing Director of the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHRSL), the bullet train project will need 30 mega carriers and launcher machines. “There is no other way to build 237 km in four years but to use this technique. As these carrier-and-launcher machines are made in China, it is a challenge for L&T and academicians to develop these machines in India itself”, Khare said. The Indian industry doesn't have enough experience in building high-speed rail systems.
Khare also said that due to the current situation and India becoming Atmanirbhar, there are no chances of machines being imported. Also, this will help India become self-reliant. He says that it's not like the Indian engineers cannot make it. He acknowledged that making these machines is “no joke”, as also Japan, which is helping India with this Bullet Train project, had not designed such machines. China came up with them while constructing 25,000 km of high-speed rail.
The NHSRCL asked the Ahmedabad Textile Research Institute to work on the upholstery of the train, in similar terms to the fire-retardant one used in Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen system. Khare said that we cannot be dependent on Japan forever. Moreover, the NHSRCL has ordered several IITs to work on simulation software for the electrical systems etc., which are currently the only domain of foreign consultants engaged in railway and other such projects.
India will carry out around 75% of the construction for the project through Indian firms. Typically, in projects like these, Rs 80,000-90,000 crores’ worth of contracts go to the Indian firms. The bullet train project is estimated at Rs 1.08 trillion.
However, this project is facing delays as land acquisition is proceeding ploddingly in Maharashtra, and there are pending issues with the Japanese. Fortunately, the portion in Gujarat has picked up the pace with three contracts awarded for design and construction. While the railway is adamant on completing the project by the December 2023 deadline, sources said they are looking forward to a completion date of December 2028.
Source: The Indian Express