Bullet trains can wait, says E Sreedharan

There is a proposal to offer an FSI of 4 for the buildings on the Metro corridor — 500 m on both sides — and levy 1 per cent extra stamp duty on property transactions to garner funds.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur | Published: February 19, 2016 2:01 am
In an open letter published in his website, Mohanlal said Kerala needed Sreedharan’s leadership and he should continue to lead the projects. E Sreedharan, Former Delhi Metro Chief

Former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan is of the opinion that India should upgrade and improve the present railway infrastructure rather than investing in bullet trains.

Talking to the media here on the occasion of the foundation day of Nagpur Metro project, Sreedharan said, “India is a vast country with long distances. So, eventually we have to go for bullet trains. But presently, I feel is not the right time. Because today, Indian Railways needs huge infusion of funds to improve the present system itself. It will benefit the country more by putting the money into existing system now. Increase the speed, increase the line capacity, give more facilities and increase the safety of trains. So, our first priority should be to improve the existing system.”

He, however, added, “We should not forget that in the next 8-10 years our economy will increase and by that time we will need bullet trains. We can have bullet trains on one or two corridors, because it will have a fallout for Indian Railways and that technology can be absorbed to some extent.”

Asked if the railway systems can be allowed to be operated by private companies as it happens in some countries, Sreedharan said, “I am strong votary of the state running the railways. Private parties will not come unless there is 15 to 20 per cent profit. So, the state will have to run the show.”

Sreedharan expressed satisfaction over the progress of the Nagpur Metro project. He said, “Its civil design is very good. Its deck width is 8.5 m as against 10.5 m elsewhere. So, the space has been better utilised. It also has the advantage of FSI and stamp duty and, most importantly, it is being helped with very good cooperation and coordination between state and central governments. So, funds are not a problem. Otherwise, in places like Chennai and Bengaluru, the project is dragging due to lack of coordination between state and Central governments.”

There is a proposal to offer an FSI of 4 for the buildings on the Metro corridor — 500 m on both sides — and levy 1 per cent extra stamp duty on property transactions to garner funds.

Asked about lack of integration between Metro systems and other inter-city and intra-city transport systems, Sreedharan said, “The Government of India has already laid down a policy for integrated transport system and it will slowly roll out. Cities like Kochi have already done that to a good extent.” The Rs 8,680-crore Nagpur Metro project has already begun the work on both east-west and north-south corridors, together spread over 38 km. The project has already received Rs 194 crore together from the state, the Centre and the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT). The Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) has sought Rs 500 crore each from the Centre and the state. It has been assured of Euro 130 million from France and Euro 500 million from Germany and the funds are expected to start flowing in from April.

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  1. मनीष
    Feb 19, 2016 at 3:09 am
    Why even worry about Railways or Buses? Why can't Indians use Donkey and Bulls for transportation ?
    1. T
      T S
      Feb 19, 2016 at 6:54 am
      I feel, this not feasible because in India there are many religions, regions, languages and castes. India is a unique country on the globe which conditions cannot be compared to any other developed countries. Thinking to develop India is noble idea but in practice some anti-national elements are also living with us since 1947. Keeping in view the above the Govt. should rethink about to introduce bullet trains.
      1. A
        Feb 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm
        He has supported Modi vision. To meet the need of bullet train after 8 years, he has supported one/two bullet trains for absorbing technology, so where is the conflict. Only the story headlines given by paper to attract readers is WRONG.
        1. Barb Dewyre
          Feb 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm
          Please answer the question: what is more important that a common man reaches his destination safely or a few businessmen from Ahmedabad reach Mumbai a few hours earlier? Where would you spend 98,000 crores?
          1. N
            Narinder Dogra
            Feb 19, 2016 at 6:07 am
            During parion, stan gt donkeys and India got bulls. You need both to succeed.
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