With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to flag off the third Vande Bharat Express, the semi-high speed train, between Maharashtra and Gujarat on September 30, the BJP has slammed opposition members for being opposed to the even faster Japanese bullet train project.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday, “Those questioning the bullet train are failing to understand its larger benefits. The entire mega project will be funded by Japanese company JICA. The loan component is at negligible interest rate of 0.01 per cent for 20 years with moratorium 15 years. We get the project free-of-cost. The advantage of technology transfer will be a huge benefit. Resources like steel and iron, among others, required for project will be sourced from India.”
The BJP is showcasing the indigenously-manufactured semi-high speed train as an example of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The Vande Bharat Express is semi-high speed with top speed of 130 km/per hour in a trial run. It takes just 53 seconds to reach a speed of 100 km per hour.
But Opposition leaders have claimed this speed makes the faster Japanese bullet train unnecessary and therefore the latter should not be built.
NCP MLA Rohit Pawar said Sunday, “From the beginning questions were raised about the bullet train. When we have a credible alternative in indigenously designed and manufactured Vande Bharat Express with low expenditure almost matching the high speed of the bullet train, why this insistence on Japanese technology-driven bullet train?”
The foundation stone for the bullet train was laid on September 2017. With its underground station at Bandra Kurla Complex, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is expected to incur cost of Rs 1.08 lakh crore. The project with 433.82 hectares land requirement has been accelerated after the BJP-Shinde Sena alliance came to power in June 2022. Almost 95 per cent of the land acquisition, which was started in 2018, has been done.