IMPROVE INDIAN RAILWAYS BEFORE GIVING BULLET TRAINS

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A major stampede occurred on 29th September 2017 at the Elphinstone-Parel Foot over Bridge in Mumbai which led to the death of around 22 innocent people, and life-threatening injuries to many more.

One of the main reasons for such a tragic incident was the insufficient space on the FOB (which is basically a serious lack in infrastructure). Mumbai has a population of around 2 crore, where lakhs of people who commute through railways everyday, heavily suffer from the inefficiency of railways. Everyday people get in and out of trains like animals. Trains are highly overcrowded at peak hours because of which, a lot of fatal accidents occur.

One such incident occurred today (29th September 2017) which took lives of 22 innocent people and severely injured 39 others. Our honorable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Devendra Fadnavis has announced ₹5,00,000/- each to the kin of the deceased. So if you do the math, a total of approximately ₹ 1crore 10 lakhs is to be given by the government. If the same money was utilised to enlarge the length of the bridge, this accident could've been avoided.

Moreover according to a news channel report, a letter was already written to the ex-railway minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu for the overcrowding problem at Parel station. The reply given by him was that there is a shortage of funds and that many other projects were being carried out. Stations like Andheri, Borivali, Dadar, Virar, Nallasopara, Kalyan, Dombivali are immensely over-crowded during peak hours due to the shortage of number of trains running as compared to the number of people travelling through these trains.

A number of railway accidents like train derailments have happened in the past few months throughout our country which has cost of loss of invaluable lives and resources. Our honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi is very ambitious about his pet project - Bullet trains and has inaugurated its construction recently, for which India will have to face the burden of ₹80,000 crores as a loan with interest which will be given by the Japanese government. I request you to explain to the people of Mumbai, its feasibility and economic viability.

An IIM-Ahmedabad study revealed that the bullet train would have to run around 100 round trips between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in order to break even or become economically feasible, which is next to impossible right now. A project worth more than ₹1 lakh crores is not what the people of Mumbai, or as a matter of fact, the people of our Country need right now.

What is required is the betterment of existing infrastructure, better roads, FOB's, sewage systems to prevent floods, better traffic management, etc. Mumbai being the financial capital of India, has infrastructure and facilities way below its dignity and is also the home to Asia's largest slum even after being so financially empowered. I would want to ask the BMC of our city, where does the money which is paid by our hard-working taxpayers go? The situation of roads remains the same every year! Our city gets water-logged every monsoon! Mumbai becomes handi-capped with even 3 hours of heavy rains!

Maharashtra government's efforts for the Metro' project is highly appreciated since it will bring a breathe of ease to the people of Mumbai. But a bullet train is not what we really need right now. People of Mumbai would rather take a bullet but a bullet train. So its my request to please stop the construction of the bullet train for now and improve the Mumbai Railways first. People here are dying because of poor infrastructure. I guess the government will agree to the fact that value of life is more important than anything else. I have not written this petition because someone who I know has suffered in the incident , but I will not wait till something like that happens to me or my relatives and they die a dreaded wasteful death and then I write a petition. So this is it!

I thereby request the Govt. of India, to understand the plight of the common citizens of Mumbai, understand what really matters to them. Safety! Give us the safety while we commute for work, college, school on a daily basis, and let us be assured that we won't drown in the flash floods in the city on any sudden day, or get crushed in a stampede due to over-crowding. Ensure our much needed safety before you begin with any uber-luxurious projects which would benefit a negligible chunk of our entire population.

A pleading citizen,

Rudraraj Trivedi



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