"We are in the process of setting up the National High-Speed Rail Authority, an autonomous body, to implement and monitor the high-speed train project in the country and for this a legislation is required to set up the authority," said a senior railway ministry official.
The proposed National High-Speed Rail Authority Bill (NHSRA) 2011 will have a nine member body including of a chairman and eight members. The bill will provide four full-time members which include member project, member finance, member engineering, and member planning.
"The stakeholders in the high-speed rail corridor project will also have four representatives as part-time members in the NHRSA," the official said. The NHSRA will be set up on the lines of National Highway Authority and the project would be under the Union railway ministry.
The selection of the chairman and members will be done by the Public Enterprise Selection Board with the approval of Appointment Committee of Cabinet.
Meanwhile, the formal draft of the bill has already been sent to the law minister, the urban development ministry, the finance ministry and the planning commission of India for their opinions.
"The final draft of the NHSRA would be sent to the Cabinet for its approval before introducing it in Parliament," said the official.
Meanwhile, the Indian railways has identified six routes to take up feasibility study for running high-speed trains.
Presently, the railways has given contracts to global consultants for taking feasibility studies of the identified routes. For the high speed rail corridor project, the state government and financial institutions will be the stakeholders. It is estimated that it will cost about Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) to construct one km dedicated high speed corridor.
According to the railways, the main motive behind the high speed railway corridor is to increase country's economic growth, to develop satellite towns and to reduce the migration of people to cities.
"We have chosen three foreign consultants to carry out studies in three corridors out of the six identified routes for conducting per-feasibility studies for developing high-speed rail corridors," the official said.
Meanwhile, a UK based consultant, Mott McDonald has been taking up the feasibility studies in longest Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna (991 km) route and Spanish consultant Eneco has been given the responsibility to carry out studies in the shortest Howrah-Haldia (135 km) route.
"French consultant Systra, which has done the studies for Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km) route, submitted the report to the railway ministry and the report is being examined now," the official said.
The Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Chennai and Chennai-Bengaluru-Ernakulum routes, will also be soon taken under feasibility studies by entrusted consultants. Moreover, project will be executed through Public-Private-Partnership mode (PPP).