New Delhi :
“The Centre's bullet train project is an exercise in vanity and the government's priorities are misplaced as it should have focused on the existing passenger rail network,” said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while addressing an event of the business community in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Singh claimed the bullet train project will be futile and not benefit either people of Gujarat or the nation.
He said, "Gujarati entrepreneurs know very well that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is not."
Bullet train is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan's Shinkansen Technology and is expected to be completed by 2022. Japan has given a loan of Rs 88,000 crore to India at 0.1 per cent interest for the project.
"Rs 88,000 crore through a soft loan may seem like easy money, but it still needs to be repaid to the Japanese. The government should have rather focused on the existing passenger rail network."
"The bullet train project, launched with much fanfare, is sadly an exercise in vanity and will not benefit either 6.5 crore Gujaratis or the nation," said Singh.
"The bullet train project requires the creation of a parallel infrastructure while our existing passenger rail network is languishing and needs a dire infusion of funds to improve both safety and speed," he said.
"The past year has seen the highest number of deaths due to derailments in more than a decade, but the government's priority are misplaced," Singh said.
The foundation stone for the high speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was laid in September by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
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