On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined hands with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to lay the foundation stone for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which will cost Rs. 1.08 lakh crore with a completion date of 2022.
Once again, one of their oldest ally, Shiv Sena, slammed the government’s priorities and termed the exorbitant investment as a dream for the rich and wealthy. Expressing their stance on the matter through its mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena said the Maharashtra government would have to invest Rs.30,000 crore towards the project purely to satisfy the “wealthy dream” of Modi.
“The Prime Minister’s dream is not of the common man, but for the interest of the wealthy and the business class,” the editorial read.
It further states that the Mumbai local trains were already distress and the overall railways are struggling to provide basic train services. “Even as Mumbai local trains suffer daily, a bullet train will be running between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.”
It also criticized that the bullet train project was being fast tracked even as there were a number of railway projects in Vidharbha, Konkan and Marathwada that were yet to commence.
Taking a dig sarcastically, it said, “It is not entirely certain, as to which problem the bullet train is a solution for.”
गुजरातच्या निवडणुका तोंडावर आहेत. त्यामुळे व्यापारी वर्गास नवे काहीतरी द्यावेच लागेल !
— Uddhav Thackeray (@uddhavthackeray) September 14, 2017
The party also directly accused the Centre of misleading the common man by saying that the project would provide opportunities for employment. Japan was going to fund 80% of the project through a soft loan of Rs. 79,000 crore at an interest rate of 0.1%.
The editorial further alleged, “Whoever is saying that the project will generate employment is lying. Right from the screws to tracks from labourers to cement, everything will come from Japan. The bottom line here is that the land and the fund will come from the Maharashtra and the Gujarat governments, while the profits will go to Japan. This is loot, yet we are congratulating the Prime Minister on his dream-fulfilling project.”