修建印度的铁路

新德里——每年二月,印度议会都会举行奇怪而独特的仪式。铁路部长(如今还设立这一职位的民主国家寥寥无几)将“铁路预算”提交给下院审核。议员们对铁路部长的预算字斟句酌。

该做法起源于英统时期,当时铁路预算相当于印度政府其他预算的总和。当然,今天约2680亿美元的印度预算与230亿美元的铁路收入相比已不再相形见绌。但印度铁路仍会出现其他令人难以置信的数字:12,617 趟列车联系着 65,000公里(合40,000英里)路网上的 7,172座车站,日均运送2300万名乘客(每年运送人数高达80多亿,超过全世界人口总和)。而且,拥有131万名员工的铁路业在国内规模最大。

总之,铁路是印度的经济命脉,与社会各阶层生活息息相关,在运送人员、货物和梦想穿越这片拥挤的大陆时发挥了重要作用。但需要解决的问题还有很多。

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