Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train 'Impractical', Says Sharad Pawar

At a press conference in Mumbai, he also criticized the government on multiple issues, including the Kashmir policy, and questioned the feasibility of the flagship bullet train project.

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Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train 'Impractical', Says Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar also criticized the choice of states for the bullet train project

Mumbai: 

Highlights

  1. Sharad Pawar questioned the feasibility of the bullet train project
  2. He said Gujarat-Maharashtra cost distribution isn't proportional to gains
  3. The NCP chief said bullet train wouldn't benefit Maharashtra
Amid speculations over a tie-up with the BJP, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar today launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his policies had led to the economic slowdown. At a press conference in Mumbai, he also criticized the government on multiple issues, including the Kashmir policy, and questioned the feasibility of the flagship bullet train project.

The bullet train project, he said, was "impractical" and the distribution of cost between Maharashtra and Gujarat was not proportional to benefits. "Maharashtra has barely got 4 stations (to be touched by the bullet train), the maximum stops are in Gujarat. But Maharashtra has to contribute equal finance in the project," he said.

He also criticized the choice of states - Maharashtra and the Prime Minister's home state Gujarat - for the bullet train project.

"I do not know what is the purpose behind this bullet train," he said. "I think a bullet train is required between Mumbai and Delhi or Delhi and Kolkata or Mumbai and Chennai. A bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is impractical."

He, however, hastened to add that he was not against benefits to Gujarat but wanted to point out that the project would not benefit Maharashtra.

The Rs 1 lakh-crore bullet train project had been targeted by several opposition parties and the NDA's 'in-house opposition' Shiv Sena. The attack has become more intense since the stampede at Mumbai's Elphinstone station on Friday.

"Bullet train will be like demonetisation. It will kill everything else including safety," former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had tweeted a day after the stampede.

But Mr Pawar, who is seen as battling speculations from the Sena about an imminent partnership between the BJP and his NCP, took on the Centre on other issues too.

"The decisions of demonetisation and GST taken by the Prime Minister without adequate preparedness have dealt a heavy blow on the country's economy," Mr Pawar said. "The investment climate in the country is not good today and hence, there are no fresh investments."

The Make in India slogan, he said, seemed "very attractive initially, but its hollowness has begun to show now".

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