" Rs 1.1 lakh crore bullet train for what when you can't assure passenger safety and basic infrastructure?" is the question opposition parties, allies and citizens alike are asking the Narendra Modi government. Social media is abuzz with comparisons of railway safety and infrastructure in India and the need for a bullet train given the priority given to citizen's safety in the country.
Not just opposition parties like the Congress, Lalu PRasad Yadav's Rashtriya Lok Dal but even Bharatiya Janata Party's allies like Shiv Sena have lashed out at the Modi government for its priorities. Netizens did not fail to highlight the fact that infrastructure and not super speed trains were the need of the hour in the country.
Indian Railway's old & overburdened infrastructure urgently needs renovation & replacement. It must be the priority rather then bullet train— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) September 29, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai has been under scrutiny ever since it was launched along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Friday's tragedy added fuel to the raging fire over bullet train and rail safety in India. In Munbai, several leaders of the Shiv Sena staged a protest outside the KEM hospital. Their demand was to scrap the bullet train project and use the intended funds to improve the existing railway infrastructure.
Elphinstone stampede is a grim reminder of failing rail infrastructure which causes weekly derailments. But PM busy with 1L Cr bullet train https://t.co/r9LgGgsMFj— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 29, 2017
Terrible tragedy in Mumbai.Hearts & minds with loved ones of those killed.Wish injured speedy recovery. @PiyushGoyal scrap bullet train 1/2— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) September 29, 2017
The Maharashtra government, union railway ministry as well as the Bruhanmumbai Municipal Corporation has come under severe fire for ignoring repeated requests for a new foot overbridge at the station where tragedy struck on Friday. 22 people love their lives and several others sustained injuries after a rumor of short circuit and overcrowding led to panic and stampede.
bullet train is cool, but basic infrastructure first.— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) September 30, 2017
"The bullet train project only works as a massive propaganda to showcase Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state Gujarat," slammed Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar. Many people reflected similar opinions on social media questioning if the government had its priorities right.
List priorities and work on it. I'm not against #BulletTrain but basic infra should be improved as per the requirements.— Ishwar Bichewar (@IBichewar) September 30, 2017
An inquiry has been ordered into Friday's incident. According to Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, action will be initiated on those responsible for the tragedy but why were several warnings ignored was one question left unanswered. Hundreds of netizens asked the government if it was rushing into new projects, quite literally, before bettering current projects.
With multiple incidents of rail accidents in the recent past and now the tragedy at Elphinstone Road station, is India really ready for bullet trains?