99 pc population won't travel in 'elitist' bullet train: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today slammed the Narendra Modi government for reportedly approving the diversion of 77 hectares of forest land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project and said 99 per cent of India's population would not travel in the "elitist" train.
Referring to 13 children being killed when their van was hit by a train at an unmanned crossing in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, Chidambaram said in a series of tweets that the decision to divert forest land reflected the priorities of the NDA government.
"On the day when 77 hectares of forest land are diverted for Rs 1,08,000 crore bullet train, 13 children are killed at an unmanned crossing. Bullet train scores over supervised level crossings! Shows priorities of Modi government.
"77 hectares of forest land lost. Lives of 13 children lost. What is the gain? An elitist train in which 99 per cent of the population will never travel," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly given in-principle approval for the diversion of 77 hectares of forest land for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
The clearances have come with a rider that the remaining deficiencies on pending claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, in proposals submitted by Gujarat and Maharashtra, must be ironed out at the earliest.
The two states have also been told to coordinate closely with the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) to speed up the project, the reports said.