Sources in Maharashtra revealed that Farmer’s welfare would be Uddhav Thackeray’s priority over the bullet train project. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had initiated Narendra Modi’s ambitious bullet train project connecting Mumbai to Gujarat.
With the new ruling alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are coming into power. The future looks promising for farmers in Maharashtra. This new alliance intends to focus on the Common Minimum Programme of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. The key interest of this alliance is on farmers, workers, youth, and women.
Favoring the Farmers
The recent collaboration is determined to favor the farmers by waiving their pending loans. Similarly, it promises to focus on supporting the drought-affected regions and the farmers affected due to floods in the state. Attempting to do so, the alliance strongly urges Rs 40,000 crores from Maharashtra as its share. Additionally, it emphasized its need to support the farmers in need rather than cost increasing expenditure, a bullet train.
On the account of Uddhav Thackeray taking oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the Sena leaders had invited more than 400 farmers from the drought-affected regions along with their families. Particularly to highlight their support to farmers.
The Bullet Train Project connecting Mumbai to Gujarat
Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan) introduced the Bullet train project on 14th September 2017. This vision costs over 1.08 lakh crore, of which Japan nearly funded 81% as a soft loan and the Gujarat and Maharashtra Governments will be funding the remaining. Moreover, this train is expected to be running on a route of 508 km’s from Bandra Kurla Complex-Mumbai to Sabarmati-Gujarat within 3 hours by 2022. However, the estimated cost of this train is 3,500 per ticket.
Opposition to the bullet train by the newly Formed Government
Shiv Sena leader, Uddhav Thackeray clearly stated that their verdict after elections. The priority of the party will not be on the promised projects such as the bullet train but will focus on the much-needed development and support of farmers, education and other sectors. Further, he highlighted that the route taken by the bullet train is rather peculiar and would consume multiple farming lands. Thereby, disrupting the livelihood of several farmers who are not willing to give up their agricultural lands.
Choosing Farmers Welfare over Luxury
Deepak Kesarkar, a former minister also supports the priority given to the farmers over the bullet train project. He justified that the connectivity was necessary when Mumbai was the common capital and likewise when Gujarat and Maharashtra were one state. However, now the scenario has changed thereby it stands of lesser value. Further, he suggested air travel when the price per ticket for the train would estimate to a cost of 3500 rupees.
The agricultural sector largely influences the Indian economy therefore, it is important to focus on cultivator’s welfare. Moreover, it is equally important to initiate innovative infrastructures such as the bullet train. However, considering the current scenario following the drought, the priority must be to pull farmers out of their misery and restore their livelihood.