Mumbai: While the much-talked about Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has been widely welcomed, BJP's ally in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, has strongly condemned what it calls an 'unnecessary' project.
In an acerbic editorial published in its mouthpiece 'Saamna', the Maharashtra-based party said on Thursday that a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is 'unnecessary' when the Indian Railways and the Mumbai local trains are already suffering, and several basic problems of the country are still unresolved.
"Even as Mumbai suburb's local trains suffer daily, a bullet train will be running between Ahmedabad and Mumbai," the Shiv Sena commented in the article.
The strongly-worded article also highlighted the fact that the bullet train project is being fulfilled over and above the demands for rail projects in the Vidarbha, Marathwada, and Konkan regions of Maharashtra.
"The MLAs and the Parliament of Maharashtra are making demands for rail projects for Vidarbha, Marathwada, and Konkan, but they are being ignored. Instead, we are getting a bullet train without having asked for it," the Shiv Sena said.
"It is not entirely certain, as to which problem the bullet train is a solution for," the party said while it attacked the Centre for the bullet train project.
'Saamna' article also questioned if the Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet train was actually needed.
In the light of farmers' distress going unaddressed, and no debt relief being provided to them, samna declared that bullet train was unnecessary. It added that the project would require land from Maharashtra.
"Without a doubt, the bullet train will be running over the livelihood of farmers," it commented.
The editorial claimed that the Japan Government was supposed to incur the cost of the project, but now the Indian Government will be spending Rs. 1,08,000 crore for the project, while the Maharashtra Government will have to spend at least Rs. 30,000 crore for no good reason than for the 'wealthy dream' of the Prime Minister.
"The Prime Minister's dream is not of the common man, but for the interest of the wealthy and the business class, and this is the reason for making Piyush Goyal the railway minister. The budget for the project will be increasing in the coming days. Goyal is also the treasurer of the BJP, so there must be transparency in this regard," the Sena editorial demanded.
"Suresh Prabhu resigned because of train derailments, but within 15 days of induction of Piyush Goyal, seven trains have already derailed, and have increased the problems of passengers," the party pointed out.
"Japan will be providing all the resources, including labour. 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," the Sena further alleged.
"The Gujarat elections are round the corner, so the business class must be fed something, right?" concluded the Shiv Sena's mouthpiece.
With ANI inputs