Skip to main content

Bullet train "not feasible": To cost whopping Rs 212 crore per km; Indian railways modernization Rs 9 crore per km

By Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant*
Let us make this clear atthe very outset: We are supporters of the public train transport system. Our objection to the Bullet Train project is not an objection against 'train' but we are against the bullet, which is symbol of violence.
The Bullet Train's bullet is targeting fertile lands, environment, water sources, livelihood, biodiversity, economics, sensible priorities for the public transportation, environment laws of land, and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
More importantly, it targets democratic processes and common sense for the needs of contemporary and emerging New India.
The Feasibility Report for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, is more about justifying the project rather than seriously considering its thorough and honest social and environment impact assessments as well as viability and need for the project. Even as per their own report, the bullet is going to pass through reserved forests, mangroves and around 80,000 trees will be felled, and it is going to adversely affect the water sources and biodiversity of the entire corridor and its context.
Despite all this, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) of the Government of India is not involved in the project's environmental and social impacts assessment proceedings.
The representatives of the foreign government body, in this case JICA -- with which Modi government signed MoU for the Bullet Train project -- are found sitting in district and town level public environment consultations with local Indian authorities. This is unprecedented, especially when the MoEFCC, which should be legally part of this process, is instead completely missing from the consultations the projects proceedings.
Why is the MoEFCC absent and a foreign government agency is participating in environment consultation? If the ongoing environmental consultation accepts the need for environmental concerns, then why have the environmental laws of India and the MoEFCC have no role in the process? Have the MoEFCC and the environmental laws of the land been mortgaged to the JICA?
Presently, the Indian rail network is stretched along 67,368 Kilometres, with more than 13,000 passenger trains and 9,200 freight trains. Daily 15,561,613 passengers use the services. Between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, presently, 76 trains run daily and average 400,000 passengers use it on daily basis. 
According to the Government of India's study, Rs. 5,60,596 crore are required to be spent across ten years for the modernization of rail network, i.e. approximately Rs 9 crore to modernize each km of rail network. On the other hand, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train will cost Rs 212 crore per km.
It is not clear that the bullet train will, in any make, augment indigenous public transport technology, nor that it will in any way benefit the Indian industry or common people. It took 50 years for the first bullet train in Japan to mark a breakeven. The cost will only increase the per capita debt burden, and it will also make it difficult for the Indian Railways to manage its priorities and economics.
Presently, the Indian government is promoting waterways and air travel. It is establishing airports in two tier towns. All major cities including, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, are now well connected with air network. In addition to air travel, there are both national highways and express highways between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. In addition, work is in progress for the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC). Why then is the Bullet Train given such a priority and made out to be a prestigious proposition? There are other ways to benefit from Japan-India friendship and socio-economic cooperation.
A simple calculation proves that the Bullet Train project makes neither economic sense nor puts on priority the pressing multi-modal public transport needs, with last mile connectivity and appropriate and complementary land use planning that will benefit all, in the emerging New India.
In light of all the above, it is apparent that a sincere rethink of the project, with authentic and accountable stakeholders participation, is urgently needed.
Many more such questions need answers from the Modi Government. Let the Modi government first clarify the questions raised here before taking any further action for the implementation of the bullet.
---
*Environment activists, Gujarat

Comments

SK Sharma said…
nice article if you need more information visit this site
https://www.myviewsmydrishti.com/

TRENDING

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).