Bul­let trains not a pri­or­ity

Ad­dress Rail­ways’ other prob­lems first

Business Standard - - OPINION - The Tele­graph, September 15

The of­fi­cial en­thu­si­asm aroused by the planned bul­let train that is meant to run be­tween Ahmedabad and Mum­bai from 2023 pro­vides a hint of the glit­ter­ing life about to be in­au­gu­rated for In­di­ans. The mag­nif­i­cent loan from Ja­pan, the ap­par­ent fairy-tale rate of in­ter­est and the sched­ule of pay­back, all prom­ise to be an­other pub­lic­ity tri­umph for Naren­dra Modi, with high ex­pec­ta­tions of do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal ben­e­fits. The daz­zle ob­scures the slightly un­com­fort­able fact that rail­way ac­ci­dents keep on hap­pen­ing at alarm­ingly close in­ter­vals — three since the new Union min­is­ter for rail­ways took over on September 3 — the lat­est be­ing the de­rail­ment of the Jammu Ra­jd­hani Ex­press. Since as late as last De­cem­ber, a stand­ing com­mit­tee re­port on rail­ways’ safety and se­cu­rity had con­cluded that un­der­in­vest­ment was one of the main rea­sons for the fre­quency of rail­way ac­ci­dents, the enor­mous in­vest­ment in a bul­let train pro­gramme looks a lit­tle sur­pris­ing.

Be­sides, a smoother, more ef­fi­cient rail­way sys­tem run­ning on up­graded tracks, not dan­ger­ously worn-out ones that re­peat­edly af­fect speed, could help in­crease rev­enue from freight. By be­com­ing cheap but fast and safe too, the rail­ways could com­pete fruit­fully with roads in this sphere. A bul­let train can­not be the sub­ject of po­lit­i­cal fancy alone.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.