Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Saturday warned the Maharashtra government that his party would not allow the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project to take off until the railway infrastructure is improved in the city. His comments come a day after 22 people were killed and 39 injured during a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai.
Thackeray said that he would submit a list of problems faced by Mumbai suburban rail commuters to the Railway Ministry next week. “Until the present infrastructure of local railways is not improved, we will not let a single brick to be placed for the bullet train in Mumbai,” Thackeray said at a press conference. “Why do we need terrorists or enemies like Pakistan? It seems our own Railways is enough to kill people.”
Thackeray questioned why the Railway Ministry had said that the rain had triggered the stampede. “It is not the first time that it has rained in Mumbai,” he added.
Thackeray, cousin of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said his party would give an ultimatum to the state government to remove hawkers who have illegally set up shops on the station bridges. He further said a rally will be taken out to the Western Railway headquarters in Churchgate area of Mumbai on October 5 questioning the poor infrastructure of railway stations. “If it is not complied with then we will act on our own,” he said.