Opposition parties and Shiv Sena have launched a scathing attack against the Modi government for giving nod to the bullet train project. According to them, bullet train is a capital intensive project and is economically unviable. At a time when Indian railways have been witnessing accidents, time has come for the government to get its act right and overhaul the rail network instead of investing in the bullet train project. Indian railways are in dire straits as the organisation is struggling to keep pace with the modern technology due to budget constraints. Many railway projects in Marathwada, Vidarbha and Konkan have remained stuck for years due to bureaucratic hurdles. Therefore, Shiv Sena wants the government to first revive railway projects in these areas instead of focussing on bullet train venture. The party also attacked the government for its failure to bail out debt ridden farmers and giving more importance to infrastructure projects.
When AV spoke to Raju Shetti, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana Chief he said, “The rural areas of Maharashtra remain underdeveloped and the government is talking about bullet trains. The government must focus on running the railways better. There are several areas in the state which faces shortage of electricity and water scarcity. The government receives grant from the World Bank for bullet train project and construction of Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi highway but why can’t they get assistance for developing rural areas. This is the strategy of Modi to sideline Mumbai and develop Ahmedabad as a premier investment destination.”
Mohansingh Rathwa, Leader of opposition from Gujarat state assembly said, “I appreciate that the government has given a go ahead for the bullet train project. However, the government is yet to conduct a survey to find a route from where the train will run. They are yet to pass a tender for the same. The Modi government is only trying to woo voters ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls.”
Vandana Chavan, Pune NCP Chief and Rajya Sabha MP said, “We don’t oppose development but this is not the right time to launch bullet train venture. The railways have witnessed several accidents so the government should first maintain railway tracks. The railways have failed to fill up the vacancies. The government has been unable to properly manage functioning of railways and they talk about bullet trains.”
Shalini Thackeray, MNS leader said, “How many people will travel regularly from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in bullet trains? Instead of wasting money on this project the government must spend money on revamping railways. They can repair tracks, lay new tracks and start new services. The common man won’t benefit from bullet train as the government is looking after the interest of businessman. Through the bullet train venture, the government is only trying to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra.”
Shrikant Shinde, Shiv Sena MP said, “Modi takes decision in haste and doesn’t take other people in to confidence. Earlier he had taken demonetisation decision that caused huge hardships to people. Bullet trains are for upper class people and not for the common man. The government is investing in such a project whose ticket is expensive than air fare. They are talking about bullet trains at a time when Indian railways have witnessed severe accidents.”