India inaugurated its first bullet train project, between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, on Thursday. The train, which is to be ready by 2022, will complete the 508 km journey between the cities in just over 2 hours, reaching a top speed of 350 kmph.
The cost of the project is pegged at a whopping Rs 1.1 lakh crore, towards which Japan has extended a loan to India repayable in 50 years.
There are however some considerations:
1) Justification: In the age of cheap air travel, does India really need a bullet train?
2) Safety: When so many accidents and derailments are plaguing Indian Railways, will the country be able to manage this super duper fast mode of transport with any measure of safety?
3) Cost: Does the expenditure over the project – Rs 1,10,000,000,000 – validate its usefulness, particularly when India is struggling on so many other fronts such as education, healthcare, farmers’ issues etc.
Tell us in the comments section if you think Prime Minister Modi has done the right thing by bringing the bullet train to India, or whether the project will turn out to be another white elephant.