Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to greet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in his home-state, Gujarat. Among other events on the itinerary for the meet, the launch of the bullet train is a highlight of Abe’s India visit.
Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone of the 508 km high-speed rail in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The bullet train that is set to connect Ahmedabad to Mumbai is expected to cost Rs 1.10 lakh crore and Japan will fund 81% of the project cost. This high-speed rail has the potential to cut travel time between the two cities to two hours from the current travel time of eight hours.
This project has been described as the Indian Railways’ most ambitious project till date. Once launched, it will help the nation flaunt the availability of better infrastructure.
India has for long flaunted its well-connected rail track. The country has the fifth largest railway track in the world. Most of which was laid out by the British. But given our recent records of derailments, it is clear that the upkeep of the tracks is neglected - 708 derailments have been recorded in the last 10 years. This year the derailment death toll has been the highest in a decade - touching close to 193. These derailments have killed as many as 498 people in the last 10 years. These aging railway tracks need serious attention and repair work to prevent future derailments. But not much has or is being done for the same. Instead, we spend crores on a single project that connects two cities, reducing travel time by 5 hours. An equivalent investment would do good for the health of the railways and help them get back on track.Read More