MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asserted that the state government has not enough money to undertake the high-profile Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
In his interview to Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Uddhav said the finances are not sound enough to spend money on an expensive project like a bullet train.
“The government will undertake the project after evaluating the financial condition of the state. The bullet train is not the primary need of the state. We have many important and basic things that need to be done,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had laid the foundation stone of this project in September 14, 2017.
The Narendra Modi government has set the deadline of completing the bullet train project by August 15, 2022, when India marks 75 years of Independence.
“If someone is offering the loan on free interest or some interest, it does not mean that we should accept it. We have to also look after our financial condition and paying capacity. Besides, the farmers who are cultivating land should not be taken immediately. The bullet train project is like a white elephant,” Uddhav said.
“All stakeholders should come together and need to discuss about this project, whether we really need it or no?’ the CM said.
“How much it will help Maharashtra? Whether it will really help the state’s business? If someone convinces all these things with facts and logical reasoning, then we can go to the people. For the sake of something, we cannot do it.”
The bullet train may be the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the ground reality is different, he asserted.
“We have to understand and then take the decisions. When we see the ground reality, the dream goes away. We have to focus on improving the basic infrastructure of the state,” the CM added.
Maharashtra yet to get its GST dues: Uddhav
Uddhav said the Maharashtra government was asking the Centre to refund of Rs 15,000 crore from GST.
“After a lot of persuasion, the Centre released Rs 4,000 crore in December last year. Now, it is already January and the due amount remains the same,” he said.