The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) on Friday opposed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project saying that instead of focusing on this “wasteful” big-ticket project, the government should strengthen the existing rail network in the country.
While talking to reporters, NFIR general secretary M Raghavaih alleged that the bullet train was a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has not thought about its economic viability. The Rs 1.08 lakh crore bullet train project is wasteful. Since India is not a developed country, it does not need this project. The country can think about it after 2040, when it becomes a developed nation.
“The government should prioritise work on the existing train routes, instead of focusing on the bullet train project. Before the bullet train starts running, it is important to undertake repairs and maintenance work of the tracks across the country,” Raghavaih said.
The project had a little or no justification on the grounds of economic viability or public service, he said, adding that only a handful of high-income countries with specific demographics have high-speed rail (HSR), while many have failed in their efforts, others have abandoned it after studying it
Another NFIR office-bearer, J G Mahurkar, warned that the railway employees may launch an agitation over the NDA government’s “failure” to accept their demands, including that of risk and hardship allowance to employees.
Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had launched the bullet train project in Ahmedabad in September 2017. The ambitious project is expected to be completed by 2022 and will cut travel time between the two cities from seven hours to less than three.