Currently, train travel between the two cities is around seven hours. “After a road show done by the Japanese Prime Minister we had the foundation stone of the Ahmedabad Mumbai bullet train being laid. It is only timed with the Gujarat elections in mind.This is nothing but a “chunavi bullet train”, Kharge told reporters in New Delhi. “Most of the stops are in Gujarat and there are stops in places which have a population of just 36,000”, said Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh. It also pointed out that the bullet train project was being fast tracked even as there were several railway projects in Vidharbha, Konkan and Marathwada that were not implemented.
The BJP and Shiv Sena were today engaged in a slanging match over the Maratha reservation issue with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party accusing its senior ally of doing “timepass” and the latter dubbing its recalcitrant partner as “Songaade” (clowns) vis-a-vis the quota issue. “The bullet train will bring in convenience and safety, employment and speed”, he said as he launched the Rs 1.10 lakh crore venture with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad. “When earlier I talked about bringing bullet train, they (opposition) used to say when will it be done”.
Kharge further said that when the project was started, it was worth Rs. 1,10,000 crore and in the next four-five years, it will be worth Rs. 1,30,000 crore.
Modi also attacked his critics during his speech at the mega-event in Ahmedabad.
“Even before the train picks up speed, it will halt at the next stop”.
There are 27 municipal corporations in Maharashtra of which 18 went to polls after the Narendra Modi-led BJP attained power both in the Centre and in Maharashtra. “He took a decision two years ago to bring a high-speed train in India and to create a new India”, said Abe.
Maharashtra’s multi-cornered elections that saw the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP jostling for space have over the past two years turned into a two-horse race with the BJP and the Sena being the two dominant players.
“We are not against any project, but what is the aim?”
“Does this bullet train fit into the needs of the country?” it asked and raked up the issue of agrarian distress in some states.It said the demand for waiver of farm loans was being made for the last several years and that nobody sought a bullet train.
Raising question on the timing of laying the foundation stone of the bullet train, Shiv Sena said that that bullet train will not benefit commoners, but it would give something “new” to the industrialists of Gujarat where elections are coming up shortly. All these projects were needed for the nation. Nobody sought a bullet train.
Even a group of farmers from Boisar in Palghar district of Maharashtra protested against the project fearing acquisition of their lands.