The bullet train project will teach Indians new technology. Sometimes collateral benefits far outweigh the benefits of the primary project. Unless we are willing to take a leap forward, we will remain in the shallow waters of primitive technology. India needs all modern technologies to modernise India.
All over the world, 200mph trains have taken the place of short haul flights. If you can shorten any city-city rail journey to 3 hours or under, that is faster, cheaper and more reliable than short-haul air travel when you include travel time to each airport, security checks etc. In Europe, short-haul airlines are going bust and so many people have switched to faster trains. Billions of rail journeys are now made across the world each year by 200 mph trains. For India it is new but in due course, it will become the toast of train travellers in India.
The line of argument used in “India does not need bullet train” is the same used questioning India on Nuclear Weapons, Space Program etc. We see the bullet train as Technology Implementation. High-speed transportation brings with it numerous technologies – from IT, Logistics, Propulsion, Signalling and Material science and design and manufacturing. India needs to be in the forefront in converting technology into working design and all its derivatives in the service and defence of India and its distributed prosperity.
We all strongly believe it will add value to the nation, development and its economy. Initially, there were criticism against computerisation, space technologies and other major developments. Criticism from the environmentalist need to be evaluated and try to consider their concerns and points during the implementation. Non-financial benefits from such huge projects shall be higher than financial viability for short and long-term perspective.
One of the main reasons was those who criticise were either directly or indirectly not part of the political parties or its ideologies of the ruling party. Other than environmentalist concern, those cries against development should not be heard. Governance needs a paradigm shift to take this country forward into the 21st century and beyond.
India needs bullet trains and a full network of it. it is extremely slow to travel a long distance in India in current trains. And if you talk about flight then you will never get a ticket in festival season and if you get it is only for ultra rich who can pay about 20k for one ticket. Also, flights cannot carry such a large population as we are in India. A faster mode of mass transportation for long distance should be available by now and we are lagging way behind so far. Construction of bullet train network will also provide jobs. And do not compare with aeroplanes. Bangalore airport to BTM layout or any other place in Bangalore takes another 3 hours to reach. So the purpose of travelling through air is defeated.
Bullet train should be introduced if it is financially viable and in the private sector. All efforts should be made to improve the India Railways. There is a dire need to improve technology and productivity. The matter of fact is in any government some sycophantic political leaders will be there to always oppose the good moves. To become a developed economy, parallel growth of several sectors needed by implementing forward achieved thinking. Just think in the festive season, people are so eager to reach their home and they pay extra Rs 1000 for normal sleeper ticket, they will have surely benefited and the just because of the huge population of India, any new business plans in any form will never fail. Bullet trains will be a boost if we have a broader outlook. We need to shed our narrow outlook for the time being.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)