Taking a dim view of the ‘bullet train’ project in the backdrop of recent railway accidents, the Shiv Sena today said the Centre should instead focus on safely operating existing trains. “In our country, there are daily train accidents. People get killed and injured (in these accidents), but this government is going for things like the Bullet Train project with the Japan government’s help,” an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece, Saamana, said. “Like ‘Chala Murari Hero Banane’, the dream of ‘Chala Murari bullet train shuru karne’ may be nice, but first operate the existing trains properly. Provide clean platforms, rakes and toilets and also ensure that there are no rat tails and cockroaches in rail food,” the Sena said. ‘Chala Murari Hero Banane’ is a 1977 Hindi film about ‘Murari’, a simpleton from Delhi who becomes a star in Mumbai sans the hallmark look and features of a film hero.
The Sena criticism comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are expected to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the ambitious Rs 1 lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project next month to mark the beginning of the construction work. On Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s offer to quit in the wake of the recent train accidents, the Sena said, “Is Prabhu’s offer to resign on moral grounds true? or is the moral sense with which the prime minister did not accept the resignation of ministers bigger.” “Anyway, words like morality have lost their meaning in politics today. If problems would have been resolved with the resignation of ministers, there would have been such resignations every day,” it said.
The editorial said Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned after a rail accident. “That was the victory of morality. However, in the subsequent 50-60 years, the railway is derailing on a daily basis. What lessons did we learn from this morality,” it asked. “After a break, those who resigned will occupy new chairs and the brakes of the Railways and other ministries will continue to fail daily. But we will blow our own trumpet,” the Sena said. On August 19, 13 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh, killing over 20 passengers and injuring over 150. Four days later, at least 70 people were injured when the Kaifiyat Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya.