Bullet train would bring in development: Fadnavis

Last Updated 29 October 2018, 19:51 IST

Describing bullet trains as "magnets of development", Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor would boost the GDP in India.

"Wherever the bullet train goes, the area opens up... we can look at the examples of Japan and China," Fadnavis told DH in an interview on Sunday evening on the eve of completion of four years in office, which falls on October 31.

Fadnavis's statement comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Japan and meeting his counterpart Shinzo Abe at the 13th bilateral summit.

During Abe's 2017 visit to India, Japan had agreed to finance the bullet train project through a 50-year loan of Rs 88,000 crore at 0.1% interest.

The Indian Railways is working on an August 2022 deadline for the 508-km project covering the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and providing a high-speed link to the business centres of Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Asked about the protests in the twin districts of Thane and Palghar near Mumbai against land acquisition, Fadnavis said, "Yes, there were protests, but now people are giving land... much of the protests are politically motivated... the project is now on track."

BJP's alliance partner Shiv Sena and principal Opposition parties, the Congress and NCP, as well as the MNS, has opposed the project.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and his estranged cousin and MNS founder Raj Thackeray had often targeted Modi for pushing the mega project to Maharashtra.

"10 years down the line, we will be a developed economy... projects like bullet trains would contribute to development and the GDP of the nation," he said about the prime minister's pet project.

He said the cement and iron for the project will be from the country, while the train will be made in India.

"It is going to generate jobs here," he said, adding that its a very "valuable project". "We cannot lag behind in development," he said.

(Published 29 October 2018, 14:27 IST)

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