Technology and funds from Tokyo. The train will connect the cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai (500 km) in less than three hours; now it takes eight. Criticism of the safety standards on the Indian rail network, one of the most obsolete in the world.
Ahmedabad (AsiaNews) - The first "bullet train" project in India is underway. This morning, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, cut the ribbon on construction of the Gujarat railway line, in the same state where Modi began his political career.
The 750-seat train will connect the cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai (500 km) in less than three hours, while now it takes eight. Technology and funds are both provided by the Japanese partner, the world's leading rail carrier. The project has attracted the acclamation of the premier's admirers, but has also raised criticism of the tracks’ safety. For many, before embarking on the ninth infrastructure megaproject, the Delhi government should have remedied the obsolete rail transport network, often the scene of accidents and chronic delays
The project is part of an agreement between the two executives signed in 2015. The work was carried out in the presence of Prime Minister Abe, on a state visit to India. The biggest burden of spending ($ 17 billion) will be on Japan's rapidly expanding presence in India.
The convoy will travel at a maximum speed of 350 km / h, twice that of today becoming the fastest Indian train. Most of the railroad track will be raised and about seven miles will be traversed in a tunnel below sea level. In all, the network will have 12 stations and will be completed in 2022.
Supporters claim that "bullet train" will reduce delays, reduce traffic in cities, attract investment, and improve infrastructure quality along the route. On the other hand, many people point out that the Indian rail system is outdated, largely dating back to independence. It would have been more appropriate - it is their opinion - to invest in the renewal and safety of the transport network to avoid disasters similar to that of Uttar Pradesh, which in November caused the death of some 150 people.
The court granted 11 defendants the benefit of the doubt, and found no clear evidence in the case of the three others. In all, 31 people had been convicted in connection with the death of 33 Muslims burnt to death in a house where they had sought shelter during a riot by Hindus.