New Delhi, Nov 30 (UNI) Nine states, including Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, have agreed 'in principle' to participate in pre-feasibility studies for high speed passenger trains running through their territories.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Railways R Velu said the other four states which had shown willingness to participate in pre-feasibility studies were Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.
Mr Velu said the ministry had approached 12 state governments to ascertain their views on the project and for possible support in form of land, right of way to build elevated tracks and equity for the the proposed project.
The minister said the proposal was in its initial stages.
''Pre-feasibility studies are to be conducted. These studies will take about two years, on the basis of recommendation of these studies, a decision to start the work will be taken,'' he informed the Upper House.
Replying to another query, he said initiatives were made to enhance the capacity of 3-tier sleeper coaches from 72 to 81 berths and to manufacture all such coaches having a capacity of 84 berths.
Mr Velu said the increase in the capacity of existing 3-tier coaches was being made by providing a foldable middle berth in each longitudinal bay while all such future coaches would have three extra berths on the transverse side (side berths).
''The design and fitment details for the new arrangement for both the existing and future coaches have been finalised with due consideration to passenger comfort and safety,'' he added.