NEW DELHI: This Indian Railways proposed bullet train project entails a whopping cost of around Rs 1.10 lakh crore, foundation of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year. The Railways says the train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will be made fully operational by 2023.
Japan is giving a loan of Rs. 88,000 for this project.
The opposition including Shiv Sena, which is a BJP ally, have attacked the Modi government for its ambitious project calling it “good-for-nothing”.
“The project which won’t improve the living standards of common people or bring any substantial change in their lives, is not required,” NCP leader Nawab Malik said.
Shiv Sena’s Neelam Gorhe said the first priority of the government should be the facilities people get in trains.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray haS asked farmers not to give away their land for the bullet train project. He has said he would not allow a single brick to be laid for the construction of the bullet train in Maharashtra.
A nine-coach bullet train will cost Rs. 60,000 cores whereas high-speed Rajdhani express trains cost around 75 crore. Which means, at the cost of a bullet train, India can afford to have around 800 Rajdhani express trains. The Rajdhanis are among the fastest trains in India and connect the national capital with the capital or largest cities of various states.
Moreover, the route on which the bullet train will run already has 81 trains, out of which 31 are mail trains that operate on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.
The opposition has alleged the bullet train project is just to “show off” because there are already 24 flights that operate between Mumbai and Ahmedabad daily and by road, the distance between the two cities can be covered in six hours.
An RTI query filed by a Mumbai activist Anit Galgali in 2017 revealed that over 40 per cent of seats on all the trains on this sector go vacant, causing huge losses to Western Railway.
“The Indian government is over-enthusiastic and plans to spend more than ₹1 lakh crore on the bullet train project, but it has not done its homework properly,” Anit Galgali said, adding that it raises serious question marks on the viability of the project, whenever it comes up.