NEW DELHI: Not fully convinced about the financial viability of bullet trains, a parliament panel has asked the Railway Ministry to conduct a cost benefit analysis of PM Narendra Modi’s pet project vis-à-vis other pending railways projects so that the scarce resources of the Railways are utilised optimally and judiciously.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, chaired by TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi, in its report said that the committee was not convinced with the justification given by the ministry that despite being financially unviable as compared to other big railways projects, bullet train project had additional unique features.
“The features include improved economic rate of return in terms value of time saved of passengers, environmental benefits, appreciation in real estate value and residual value of infrastructure, besides enhancing the country’s prestige internationally,” it observed.
The Committee felt that if the amount equivalent to that proposed to be expended for bullet trains is used for execution of the long pending railways projects, the benefits to the general public would be much more.
“The Committee, therefore, desires that before going ahead with the bullet train project, the ministry should conduct a cost benefit analysis for the project vis-à-vis other pending railway projects so that the scarce resources of the railways are utilised optimally and judiciously,” it added.
On Tatkal Tickets
The Public Accounts Committee on Railways came down heavily on the railway ministry’s decision to sell half of its tatkal tickets under dynamic pricing. The panel asked the ministry to reduce the premium on tatkal tickets to a minimum essential level. “This system is legitimising inequity. It is high time Railways institutionalise the concerns of the poor,” it said adding that it will be in greater public interest if the percentage of advanced reservation is enhanced.