NEW DELHI: Want your name to be etched in history? Then here’s your chance: suggest a ‘desi’ moniker for the Railways’ proposed high-speed bullet train.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project is still in its initial stage, the public sector giant is busy deciding on an Indian name as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu does not want the train to be “called by names similar to Chinese and Japanese bullet trains”. As a part of an in-house exercise, Railway employees were asked to suggest names, but now Prabhu wants the exercise to be extended across the country and hence, the government-run-transporter will crowdsource the task of christening the new train.
Pushpak, the mythical airborne vehicle used by Ravana in Ramayana, has emerged as one of the top four suggestions made by the Railway Ministry’s staff, followed by Tevr, Tejas and Garud. The ministry has already named the semi-high speed Delhi-Agra train, which is currently awaiting security clearance, Gatiman Express.
“We have received a few suggestions from officials, but the Railway Minister is not convinced and wants layperson to get involved. We will soon put out a request on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, asking people to give us their suggestions. A team, including the minister himself, will then select a name from the submitted list,” a ministry official said.
Bullet trains in other countries have native names and the Railways seems to be following suit. The Japanese call their high-speed train network Shinkansen, China’s fastest train is known as Shanghai Maglev and the French call theirs the TGV (Train Grande Vitesse). India is currently considering two corridors for high-speed trains-- Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Chennai. While Japan has submitted a feasibility study for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad path, China will do the same for Delhi-Chennai route.
Even as questions have been raised about the financial viability of the project, the Railways is hopeful that once operational, the project will save man hours and contribute to the economy. After the work is commissioned, it will take around eight years for the first bullet train to begin service.
A Parliamentary Panel has also asked the Railways to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the project.
Even as skeptics doubt the success of the bullet train project, a study by IIM-Ahmedabad professor Ramakrishnan T S, who made a presentation before the Railway Board, said it would not only be a success, but by 2035 one in every two persons travelling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad would use the bullet train.
As per the estimates, the 534 km-long high- speed corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will cost at least `1 lakh crore.