Mumbai: Notwithstanding the euphoria around the Bullet Train created by the ruling BJP, an RTI request filed by a Mumbai bases activist has revealed that the trains running on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route are continuously incurring losses.
According to RTI replies received by RTI activist Anil Galgali, only in the past one quarter, the Western Railway's staggering losses on this sector is nearly Rs 30 crore, or around Rs. 10 crore per month.
Galgali said that the most popular train, 12009 Shatabdi Express with a capacity of 72,696 seats sold only 36,117 during the July-September period on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route and in the return direction of the total 67,392 seats, only 22,982 were sold.
"The Indian government is over-enthusiastic and plans to spend more than Rs 1 lakh crore on the Bullet Train project, but it has not done its homework properly," Galgali said.
“It raises serious question marks on the viability of the Bullet Train project, whenever it comes up”, he added.
According to the Ahmedabad division, no new trains have been proposed for this route and the 12009 Shatabdi - a chair car - is the most preferred train on the route but also managed to sell only half its seats over the last three months.
The data shows that the maximum load of passengers taking trains are travelling sleeper class seats and many upper class seats are going vacant.
Prime Minister Modi had last month hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Gujarat where the two leaders laid the foundation of the Rs. 1.10 lakh crore bullet train project. The project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Interestingly, soon after the foundation of the bullet train was laid, an old video of Prime Minister Modi resurfaced in which he is seen saying that the projects like bullet trains are just meant to impress the world. "Otherwise, no one will prefer to travel by this train", Modi said in the video.