Do we need a bullet train?
India will spend Rs 98,000 crore on building a bullet train system between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Last week, India and Japan had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation and assistance in the Mumbai–Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project. Japan has offered an assistance of over Rs 79,000 crore for the project. The loan is for a period of 50 years with a moratorium of 15 years, at an interest rate of 0.1 percent. Upon confirmation of the deal, Prime Minister Modi said that though this train stands expensive, it is definitely a revolution as far as Indian railways are concerned. He further added that this train is not just about any ordinary journey but a journey into the future. He also suggested that once the bullet train is ready for use, it will build its way towards many more, in turn acting as an engine for economic transformation in India. To be fair, the BJP had very specifically said that if elected, the government would launch “a diamond quadrilateral project of high-speed train network (bullet train)”. The quadrilateral looks to link the four major metropolitan cities in India over a total area of 5,846 kilometres. This included a network between Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai. Suffice to say, Ahmedabad is not a metropolitan city. Also, a major debate has emerged whether India is ready to spend such sums on one line. Moreover, there are other pending problems within the country which include health, poverty, education, infrastructure, and roads amongst others which could have been attended to if this amount was fairly spent for all departments throughout the country.