Sreeedharan said that the bullet train is highly expensive, and that India required “a modern, clean, safe and fast rail system.”

India requires safe fast rail system bullet trains are for the elite E Sreedharan
news Transportation Sunday, July 01, 2018 - 16:07

Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as the ‘Metro Man of India’, told Ramesh Babu of the Hindustan Times that the Indian Railways is “20 years behind those of advanced nations”, and that “bullet trains will cater only to the elite community.”

Sreedharan was in charge of the Konkan Railway through the Western Ghats, the Delhi Metro and a part of the Kochi metro. He also worked as an advisor to the Andhra Pradesh government on Vijayawada and Vizag metro rail projects, before submitting his resignation to Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. Sreedharan is also the head of a committee approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set norms for metro rail systems in India.

“With standardisation, efficiency will go up and reduce cost considerably,” he told HT.

When asked if the Indian Railways rapid progress, Sreedharan disagreed.

“Apart from bio-toilets, there is no technical upgradation. Speed has not increased. In fact, the average speed of most prestigious trains has come down. Punctuality is worst – officially 70%, actually less than 50%,” he said.

He further added that the accident record had not improved and that 20,000 lives are lost on India’s railway tracks.

Terming bullet trains as “highly expensive” and “beyond the reach of ordinary people”, he said that India required “a modern, clean, safe and fast rail system.”

Sreedharan is a former officer of the Indian Engineering Service and also a member of the United Nations’ High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport.

According to the Indian Express, in 1964, he was given a target of six months to complete the restoration work of Pamban Bridge, which was washed away due to a cyclone. Sreedharan completed it in 46 days.

Now, he is the head of the Committee to lay down standards for metro rail systems, which has to submit its report in three months.

“There are various other areas for which standards need to be formulated…layout of metro station, platforms, signage and displays, size of tunnels, fire protection systems, disaster management systems, environment friendly and waste management systems, standards for solar panels at stations etc,” a government statement had said.

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