Since its inception, the bullet train project has been a subject of controversy with only a few points being able to justify its economic viability or public service.
A recent Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed the chosen Maharashtra-Gujarat route to have less traffic; the corridor has seen 40 pc of its seats going empty in the last three months, and the railways have recorded a loss of almost INR 300 million on the route since July.
Shri Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway said that the reply given in the RTI query is against the specific question regarding number of passengers from only Mumbai Central to Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad to Mumbai Central Station i.e. only between two stations.
Terming the proposed Bullet Train project as yet "another bullet fired at the economy" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress' Maharashtra unit on Wednesday asked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena to oppose the project which will not benefit the state.
The Mumbai - Ahmedabad sector is one of the busiest routes of Indian Railways caterered by 9 direct trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and around 25 trains going to onward destinations via Ahmedabad.
Under these circumstances, if the replies provided under RTI are wrong, then the WR should initiate action against the people concerned and Railway Ministry must issue a detailed white paper on the occupancy and revenue status on this crucial sector where the bullet train project is being planned at a cost of over Rs. 1 lakh crore, he said.
Galgali had sought information from the Western Railway about the seat occupancy on all the trains running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to and fro for the past three months.
In fact, 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. It generated a revenue of Rs 30,16,24,623 against an estimated Rs 44,29,08,220.
As per information revealed by the Railways' commercial department, the 32 trains that run from Mumbai to Ahmedabad have a total of 7,35,630 seats. Lack of bookings resulted in a huge loss of Rs 14,12,83,597 in last three months.
Similarly, a total of 3,98,002 passengers travelled from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, against to the 7,06,446 available seats.
This route incurred a loss of Rs 15,78,54,489.
The WR provided the data of all the major trains plying on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route like the Duranto, Shatabdi Express, Lokshakti Express, Gujarat Mail, Bhavnagar Express, Saurashtra Express, and Vivek-Bhuj Express and others.
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