Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has said that the “bullet train deal with Japan should be reviewed,” in a conversation with The Quint’s Editorial Director, Sanjay Pugalia.
In an interview for The Quint’s 'Rajpath' programme, Prithviraj Chavan shared his opinions on many issues ranging from the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra to the future of the bullet train project from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
Chavan criticised the previous BJP government headed by Devendra Fadnavis and suggested that every decision of the 80-day Fadnavis government should be reviewed. He also spoke about the BJP's political interests behind the bullet train project in Maharashtra. He said, “It was a mistake to give the bullet train project to Japan.”
Here are some of the highlights of the interview.
CM Uddhav Thackeray has decided to review all the big infrastructure projects on the basis of their priority. We get nervous listening to such news. There are such massive projects in Maharashtra. If we stop them, it will be a loss for the people. Bullet train, Hyperloop, coastal road or Mumbai-Thane bridge...
Bullet train was a wrong decision. There was politics behind it. Gujarat elections were approaching, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was contesting for elections in Japan. He came here, did a road show and signed a Rs 1.25 lakh crore contract. Who wanted a bullet train? Did the people of Mumbai want to reach Ahmedabad so quick?
Indian engineers do not have the capability to build a train with this kind of speed, do they?
That’s absolutely wrong. They do have the capability. If we do not have the technology, we can buy it. We can collaborate. Giving the entire contract to Japan was wrong. You claim that Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop with reduce travel time to 25-30 minutes which is great. It’s a futuristic and high technology project.
But nobody in the world is using the Hyperloop. You are speaking of 70-80 crores of expenditure, Who will incur it? What will be the ticket cost? Will the people be able to afford it? Implement it in a transparent manner and we will appreciate it. We are against them doing it without telling anyone, in a sly manner.
You think this project should be shelved?
I think the contract with Japan should be reviewed. We should get a project review.
Are there more initiatives by the previous government which you would shut or review?
Review is a must. They must say what arrangements were made for the farmers’ loan waiver. Why is this not happening properly? Every infrastructure project must be studied. After review, a decision can then be taken on it. Like cutting of trees in Aarey has been stopped. I think it’s the correct decision. The Metro shed should be built elsewhere even if it costs more.