Railways the backbone of our country.Rightly said. Connecting villages with towns, towns with cities. Creating employment and spreading opportunities as it chugs along the way on its iron tracks. Indian railways is rightly known as the backbone of our country.
Rail travel something that everyone would have experienced. Chugging its way across cities and towns, creating a way of transportation in cities. From local trains that connect various localities in a city to a multi-city express that connects two cities in two extremities of our country.
Railways in India, a multi-class travel experience. It’s used by a farmer to a businessman. A class of train for every one of them. But it’s not the businessman it matters. The farmer, the local seller, a worker in the city, that’s whom the railway serves the most.
“My everyday livelihood depends on it” says an on-train fruit seller lady. A local shop-keeper in a village in karaikudi district depends on the express and passenger trains to get goods from the cities for sales. It’s not just the educated it supports. Yes, people can get goods transported via roads these days as the network keeps on improving. But its still the railways that is the cheapest and most reliable mode of transportation in our country.
But, Indian Railways is now clogged by losses over losses each year. The result, the railways is keen on increasing the rail fare to reduce its losses. The number of new rails that is introduced in the lines is reduced and the number of new rail routes are also reduced. The budget is now increasingly focusing on improving the “technological” standard of the railways.
Indian government signed billion dollar project with Japan to introduce high-speed rail network in India, expecting an economic boom to the country. But the funny thing is the rail fare in the high-speed rail network costs more than a first class train ticket for a trip from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Even funnier, the rail cost is more than an average flight fare in the route.
Whom does the high-speed rail network gonna help when the existing routes, the ones that gets clogged with more and more people each and every year, the local train routes in Mumbai one of the busiest trains in the world, with each day delays increasing more and more as the existing rail infrastructure can’t hold up with the demand ?
It’s the very local people, who can’t spend more money to get their goods transported via roads, the local train sellers, the daily worker who commutes in the local passenger train, the student who finds his way to his college on the train every day. It’s those people who are more dependent on railways than others. And because the railway has supported these people for this much time, Indian railways is known as “Backbone of India”.
Yes, high-speed rail networks are needed. But at so much cost? When so much needs to be improved on local infrastructure, Does our country needs to spend billions of dollars on a single high-speed rail corridor? Express your views in the comments below.
-Arul Prakash Samathuvamani.
Image Shot On Galaxy S7