Citing it as an expensive mode of travel, retired civil engineer Elattuvapil Sreedharan, popularly known as the Metro Man of India, said bullet trains are beyond the reach of common man and that it will cater only to the elite community. Stating that the Indian Railways is 20 years behind those of advanced nations, he said what India needs is a modern, clean, safe and fast railway system.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Sreedharan said, “Bullet trains will cater only to the elite community. It is highly expensive and beyond the reach of ordinary people. What India needs is a modern, clean, safe and fast rail system.”
Read | Who is E Sreedharan?
The retired officer of the Indian Engineering Service and advisor to several Metro projects in India also denied claims that the Indian Railways has made progress with bio-toilets, speed and cleanliness. “Apart from bio-toilets, there is no technical upgradation. Speed has not increased. In fact, the average speed of most prestigious trains has come down. Punctuality is worst – officially 70%, actually less than 50%,” he said.
Speaking on the railway accidents and deaths, he said, “Accident record has not improved. Many also die on tracks, at level-crossings, in suburban sections. Almost 20,000 lives are lost on tracks yearly. I feel Indian Railways is 20 years behind those of advanced nations.”
Sreedharan will head a newly constituted high-level committee to lay down indigenous technical standards for all metro rail systems across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared Sreedharan’s appointment last month.