Mumbai: The route of India’s first bullet train – a project close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s heart – is profitable and is packed to capacity even in the off-season, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday, contradicting his ministry’s previous response to a Right to Information query (RTI).
“Contrary to media reports, Mumbai-Ahmedabad train section running at above 100% occupancy and will benefit immensely from bullet train,” Goyal tweeted.
Contrary to media reports, Mumbai-Ahmedabad train section running at above 100% occupancy and will benefit immensely from Bullet train. pic.twitter.com/JXH8y34QVg
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) November 1, 2017
The RTI was filed by activist Anil Galgali who wanted to know whether the project, launched at a cost of Rs 1.10 lakh crore, was viable on the route.
The Western Railway has now put out a clarification and called Mumbai-Ahmedabad “one of the busiest routes of Indian Railways”.
Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar said that the Railways earned Rs 233 crore on the route in those three months. Information about traffic and passengers at various stations on the way had not been given, he said, so the RTI reply had reflected “lesser occupancy.”
Bhakar said despite July-September being a lean period, the occupancy “is still above 100%”.
Bhakar also added that there are nine direct trains and 25 other trains going via Ahmedabad and the total earnings on this sector during that period was Rs 233 crore, against the losses of nearly Rs 30 crore as per the RTI replies.
Despite the July-September period being a lean season, he said the occupancy on this sector remained 100 percent plus on all the 34 trains.
Of the nine direct trains, there were 803,150 berths of which actual bookings were 830,978, or 103 percent occupancy Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and in return direction, the position remained the same.