India’s long awaited dream of bullet trains is soon to be fulfilled. Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda while presenting the Railway Budget has said that the first dedicated bullet train project will be launched on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.
As many look forward to the opening of this rail route, there are others who are dreading what it may bring. The main concern is will the common mass be able to afford this bullet train ride? Many also believe that the idea of bullet trains is a lopsided priority. Spending huge sums of money on bullet trains would deprive funds for the more essential mass transportation projects. The other question that dominates people’s discussion on the new venture is whether the project will bring good economical returns or not.
Those in favour of the bullet train proposal are optimistic that the project would yield good returns. From employment opportunities to technological progress, expenditure cut-down and reduction of carbon emissions are hoped to come out of this ambitious project. Assumptions are that the high-speed train will be a boon to those who travel regularly for business purposes. These new trains will also save journeys in the old time-consuming trains of the current Indian trains.
With the project expected to take eight years, there is speculation of it being just a dream. Questions are asked as to why should the government not attain efficiency in high traffic sections first, which require much lower investment. Some are of the view that more projects should be directed towards upgrading signalling system, speeding up of freight trains, increasing number of over-bridges and rail flyovers which can carry more people and freight.
The government has said that the cash-deficit railways require fifty thousand crore INR per year to finish on-going rail projects, so to infuse sixty thousand crore INR into the bullet train project may not sound logical.
We may applaud the bullet train project, but we must remind ourselves that our railways system highly is in need of rejuvenation and to invest in bullet should not amount to a show-off. We first need to avoid travelling on the rooftops of the trains or hang on the foot-boards.
As for now the dream project is eagerly awaited. It is hoped that it does not move at a snail’s pace.
Valentina Telien Kom
Image Source [http://www.rushlane.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/india-bullet-train.jpg]