The PMO-appointed Empowered Committee on Innovative Collaborations under NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, Arvind Panagariya has taken over the appraisal of the ambitious High-speed Railway network to ascertain its way forward and how to go about implementing the first section between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The high-power committee also has secretaries of Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The committee reviewed a presentation from Railway Board on the latest Japan International Cooperation Agency report on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor and an overview of the other lines.
The first high-speed link, whose final report by Japan was submitted in July, has been lying in Railway Board’s perusal process. The committee stepping in to appraise and prescribe a way forward for the project also relieves the Railway Board of the tough task of having to take a decision of this magnitude—the first corridor will cost around Rs 98,000 crore—and places the project in a higher league, sources said. As per the mandate of the committee, its recommendations cannot be overruled by the ministry. In case a ministry does not agree with the recommendations, the matter will go to the Cabinet.