This refers to Barun Roy’s article “Honey, we’ve shrunk China” (January 10). China undoubtedly has made tremendous progress in road and rail transports but aping it will be disastrous for India’s finances. Consider the distance and the time taken by our express trains between one metro and another — some take more than 24 hours. The travel time has not been reduced in the last 65 years. There are hundreds of century-old bridges that need to be rebuilt. Conditions of the suburban rail travel are pitiable. Maharashtra had announced its transit-oriented plans for building habitations up to Pen but arbitrarily dropped the rail portion of the road-cum-rail bridge connecting Nava Sheva and Sewree, which would have benefitted millions with far-reduced travel time. In fact, state ministers are toying with the fanciful idea of water transport with catamarans — a prohibitively costly option, which would be unavailable during the three monsoon months.
Instead of aping China, India needs to prioritise its needs and manage accordingly. The increased revenues that may accrue to the Indian Railways with the recent fare increase should not be squandered on elitist bullet trains but for improving the conditions of travel of the masses.
S Subramanyan, Navi Mumbai
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