Goyal defends Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, says even Rajdhani Express was opposed 50 years ago

Says no new significant trains have been introduced in half a century

mumbai Updated: Jan 14, 2018 00:46 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,bullet train,Piyush Goyal
Goyal said fast corridors would be the way to go for the future network of train operations.(SHUTTERSTOCK)

Union railway minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday defended the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, asserting that the first fast train in India - Rajdhani Express - which was introduced in 1969 between New Delhi-Howrah, also attracted criticism. Goyal said no new significant fast trains have been introduced in 50 years.

Commenting on the concerns being raised about the financial aspect of the Rs1,10,000 crore project and if the bullet train corridor will be able to get passengers, Goyal pointed out that if viability is considered then the Mumbai’s suburban local train would be the first one to be shut.

“Even the Rajdhani Express was opposed when it was started in 1969……A lot of criticism on the viability and the interest rate of the bullet train project are being talked about. However, if viability would be the only criteria for the Indian Railways then the first railway which would have to shut down would be the Mumbai suburban local train,”Goyal said.

Stating that a paradigm shift in thinking about technology is necessary, Goyal said fast corridors would be the way to go for the future network of train operations.

Goyal on Saturday also said railways officials were unhappy about the involvement of the army in construction of foot overbridges (FOB) in Mumbai. Further, he said this has prompted the Central Railway to complete the FOB at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus by January 26. The deadline for the three army FOBs at Elphinstone road, Ambivli and Currey Road is January 31.

“The railway officials were unhappy and rightly so but I looked at the larger prospective and as a citizen I could not have afford a single day’s delay. Railways do not have an army of workmen and the work is sub-contracted. However, the Central Railway’s general manager has assured that one FOB would be ready by January 26 even before the army’s deadline of constructing of the bridges,”Goyal revealed.

The minister also said introduction of 20 lakh Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras on the entire Indian Railways network would be completed in the next 15 months.

“The plan is to map every single coach with CCTV cameras. The cameras will be linked to the local police station, and to my office in Delhi. Once the coaches are done, station premises, railway offices would also have CCTV cameras,”Goyal said.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 00:46 IST