BULLET TRAIN INDIA PROS AND CONS
BULLET TRAIN: DOES COUNTRY REALLY NEEDS IT?
In India, the Bullet train first came into the picture in the 2007-08 budget, which was presented by the railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, But never started the project. Then in 2009 when the Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee submitted the document indicating the need of High-Speed Railway Corridor, But still no major attention was given to it.
And Finally in 2014 the Modi government presented Bullet train in its Budget and Inaugurated the project at Ahmedabad in presence of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017.
In June 2012, a separate company namely High-Speed Rail Corporation of India (HSRC) was formed as a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, an public sector enterprise under Ministry of Railways, to undertake bullet train project. HRSC will have a corporate structure and independence just like that of private sector bodies and multilateral agencies.
Two studies had been undertaken by National Railway Company of France and Japan International Cooperation Agency respectively for the development of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Corridor. The government in that budget has earmarked INR 100 crores which would primarily be spent on studies. Around 300 railway personnel will be trained on high-speed technologies existing in France, Japan, and Germany.
But this action brought the major criticism than appreciation. So it has become a major controversy and making it an important topic in terms of group discussion. So let’s get started with it…
Do you know, Why Bullet Trains are Needed? Think about it
‘The bullet train will help India increase its productivity. Productivity is the basis of growth. India will focus on ‘High Productivity, with High-Speed Connectivity’ – PM Modi
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- According to the statistics of 2018, only 0.9 hectares of the land was acquired for the project from the 1400 hectares of land required. The planned 316-mile line linking the financial capital of Mumbai with the economic hub of Ahmedabad, roughly the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was meant to be a big leap from the trains of Indian Railways, but this going to miss the deadline of 2023.
- Projects worth 754 billion rupees ($10.2 billion) were completed in the quarter ended September 2018, less than half of the targeted 2 trillion rupees, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
- The National High-Speed Rail Corporation, which is building the Indian project, said there are no funding gaps despite the delay in land acquisition. The date of operation for the project will be in August 2022, said Dhananjay Kumar, a spokesman for the company, a year before its official completion target. The company is “committed to taking care of the interests of the affected farmers,” he said.
- A group of farmers affected by the project has petitioned the Gujarat High Court, which has sought the government’s stand on the plea on Nov. 22, 2017, according to court documents. The farmers have also questioned the government’s power to acquire farmland for public-private partnership projects, documents show.
- The progress has been at its pace. The official target for completion is 2023. India says it will attempt to have it running a year earlier Total estimated cost is 1.08 trillion rupees While the train is designed to run at 350 kilometres per hour, it will operate at a maximum speed of 320 kilometres (200 miles per hour), cutting down travel time between the two cities to about two hours from about seven hours. Most of the corridor will be elevated but will include a 21-kilometre tunnel with seven kilometres under the Arabian Sea.
Advantages of Bullet Train in India
- High-Speed Railways (HSR) in India is going to be a new step towards a technologically advanced nation which would help in the development of infrastructure as well as reduce unemployment.
- India entering into the HSR group would work as a status symbol for the country, attracting not only the audience from all over the world but also making her an attractive FDI option.
- Bullet trains will decrease travel time hence increasing the connectivity as well as ease the means of transport, hence eliminating regional differences.
- The question of economic feasibility is being raised as the project is too costly at Rs. 1.5 lakh crores. However, similar questions were raised during the introduction of telecom services and the commission of Maruti. As the service expanded and the demand increased, not only did the respective areas become profitable, but the prices also went down outrageously.
- Japan investing about 80% of the money in Indian bullet train project at a nominal interest rate of 0.1% benefits both the countries and serves to strengthen the bond between the two.
Disadvantages of Bullet Train in India
- The cost of the project is more than 1.5 lakh crore for a single rail line. Instead, this money can be invested in the development of the present railway system which is a case deserving more immediate attention, seeing the recent rail accidents in India. Furthermore, the Kakodkar committee recommended an investment of Rs. 1 lakh crore for upgrading the safety and security of the railways.
- Only a few high-income countries have HSR while others have failed in their efforts or abandoned after debating about it.
- 90% of railway passengers of India travel through sleeper class or lower class so this huge sum of money should be invested in the development of the present railway system which is for the larger population.
- Japan giving the loan of 88 lakh crore to India is not, as quoted by our Prime Minister, “almost free of cost”, but according to many economists seeing the condition of rupee falling in the international market would make that loan amount to around 1 lakh 15 thousand crores, which may be higher than the prevailing rates in Japan.
- A project report by the Indian Institute, Ahmedabad estimates that at least 1 lakh passengers at fares approximately Rs. 1500 per 300 km would be required daily for the project to break even. The cost of airfare between the two cities is around Rs2,500. With comparable fare to airways, the project doesn’t seem to serve the purpose.
- The complexity of the project also arises due to a variety of socio-economic implications like land acquisition, rehabilitation, and environmental concerns.
The Bullet train is a major controversy, but both sides are equally relevant and practical. But the outcome of the project can only be predicted, for the real outcome either loss or profit, we can only wait. So let’s wait and watch what it brings in our future.
Author – Bhavi Chauhan