New Delhi, September 30: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday criticised the bullet train project, saying that it will be a demonetisation-like move “which will kill everything else”, and suggested that the money should instead be spent on improving rail safety. Also Read - Congress Welcomes Coming Together of Mainstream JK Parties, Demands Restoration of Article 370
The former finance minister’s comments come a day after a stampede on a footbridge connecting Mumbai’s suburban railway stations of Parel and Elphinstone claimed 22 lives. Also Read - Chidambaram Says Farm Bills 2020 Undermine Food Security System, Slams BJP For ‘Maligning’ Cong's 2019 Manifesto
The bullet train project, linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is not for ordinary people but an “ego trip for the high and mighty”, he alleged. Also Read - PM-CARES Fund Received Rs 3,076 Crore Till March 31, Shows Audit Report; Govt Doesn't Disclose Donors
Chidambaram also suggested that railway minister Piyush Goyal should instead use the Rs 1 lakh crore meant for the project for ensuring railway safety in the country.
“Bullet train will be like demonetisation. It will kill everything else including safety. Railway minister may take pledge on day after. Rs one lakh crore for rail safety, track upgrading, signalling & not for bullet train,” he said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had on September 14 laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train between the two cities.
The Rs 1.10 lakh-crore project is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover a distance of over 500 km in around two hours.