Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Saturday responded to criticism by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on how Mumbai needs better infrastructure than a bullet train saying, “I want to make a safer bullet train than a cheap one.”
At a press meet here after chairing a high-level meeting with Railway Board officials, Goyal said that a bullet train will make rail travel safer and comfortable for passengers and will prove to be an answer to the development of infrastructure in the country.
“Why Mumbai does not need a bullet train is a question which can be answered by Uddhavji himself. While he asks for the development of infrastructure in railways, a bullet train which has the latest technology will provide the same. Manufactured under the ‘Make In India’ technology, it will be the best product for railways in the country,” Goyal said.
Goyal also hit back at critics of the project which envisages an investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore saying that India’s proposed bullet train, when compared to the bullet trains running in other countries, could have the lowest cost of manufacturing.
“Many people cribbed about how India can make do with a cheaper bullet train. However, I do not want a cheaper bullet train for the country but a safer one,” Goyal said.
The minister said that work on completing the alternative foot overbridge between Parel and Elphinstone Road stations will be completed within a year. It will ease the load on the existing FOB where a stampede on Friday left 23 dead..
“We need to follow a system for projects in the country. The tender for the bridge was floated yesterday and work on the same will be completed within a year, my railway officials assure,” he said.
Also, an additional 93 escalators have been approved for stations on both Central and Western Railways, he said adding that state Education Minister Vinod Tawde will inspect, along with five senior BMC officials, the completion of works discussed on Saturday each month for the next one year.
“Each commuter of Mumbai suburban is as important as a Rajdhani Express passenger. We will jointly conduct inspection of culvert cleaning around the railway tracks and premises with the BMC. Before next monsoon, waterlogging at affected areas will be eliminated. We are also working towards platform extension of all stations of the Western Railway, so that 15-car trains can easily run on slow corridors as well,” he said..
Tawde later Tweeted saying, “Elphinstone stampede is a multi-disciplinary crisis. Railway Board, MMRDA, BMC and police together with Maharashtra Government have joined forces for resolution.”