Forget bullet trains, use funds for farmers, says Prithviraj Chavan

Forget bullet trains, use funds for farmers, says Prithviraj Chavan

Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has strongly opposed the Modi Government’s ambitious bullet train project, saying it is too expensive and suggested the funds meant for the venture be allocated for drought relief in the State.

“I will vehemently oppose the project. It does not matter whose pet project it is,” Mr Chavan told reporters at Vidhan Bhawan.

The former Union Minister was asked about the bullet train project, which is to be initially introduced on the busy Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail route.

“Do we really need to spend Rs. one lakh crore (estimated cost) for such a project? This money could and should be used to help drought-affected people in Maharashtra,” Mr Chavan said.

The Railways has formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to execute its plan to introduce high speed trains (with pace at more than 300 kmph).

The entity has been named the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. The bullet train is expected to cover the 508km Mumbai-Ahmedabad distance in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350 kmph and operating speed of 200 kmph.

RJD chief and former Railway minister Lalu Prasad had last year asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain “the rationale behind pursuing an initiative that would cost close to Rs. 1 lakh crore in a poor country like India.”