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Not against any project but bullet train economically unviable: Congress

Congress spokesperson R P N Singh was also present at the news conference. Kharge said the UPA government had signed $ 7-billion agreement with Japan in 2013 envisaged under the Delhi-Mumbai Economic Corridor that would have also led to introduction of bullet trains.

bullet train, bullet train india, japan bullet train india, modi, shinzo abe, indo japan ties, business news, shinkansen, indian express The Congress said the government instead of focusing on bullet trains should give priority to improving railway infrastructure, safety and filling up of vacancies. 

The Congress said the high-speed railway project that Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe launched Thursday was conceived by the UPA government and then added it was an “election bullet train” that is “economically unviable”.

That Congress said it was not against “any project”, but in the past three-and-a-half years, the party had seen how “the Prime Minister uses big ticket projects, primarily for elections and pushes projects just before the polls”.
“Announcement of packages and such projects have been a set pattern before every state election,” said former Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress spokesperson R P N Singh was also present at the news conference. Kharge said the UPA government had signed $ 7-billion agreement with Japan in 2013 envisaged under the Delhi-Mumbai Economic Corridor that would have also led to introduction of bullet trains. The agreement, he said, mentioned the details of the High Speed Railway Line on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

“The Prime Minister and his Japanese counterpart laid the foundation stone today…. We are not against any project or development. But what is your intention?” Kharge asked. “It (the project) is not economically viable,” he said. “The airfare between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is around Rs 2,000. And it takes only 70 minutes. Your fare (for the train) would be between Rs 2,800 and Rs 5,000… so it will be profitable only if at least 1 lakh people travel by bullet train…. Otherwise it will incur losses,” he said.

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The Congress said the government instead of focusing on bullet trains should give priority to improving railway infrastructure, safety and filling up of vacancies. “What is the most distressing is that the BJP government is focusing on this one big project at the cost of Rs 1.1 lakh crore and has completely abdicated responsibility towards safety of crores of passengers who travel daily by train,” he said.

First published on: 15-09-2017 at 06:26:22 am
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