Vadnagar railway station in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi sold tea during his childhood, will be developed as a tourist attraction. Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma has, however, clarified that the small tea stall will be preserved in its original form with a bit of modern touch. The government’s plan to beautify tourist spots across the city, a part of which includes upgradation of the railway station, is expected to cost around Rs 100 crore.
“The ministry of tourism along with the ministry of railways is developing the Vadnagar railway station as a tourist destination. We have already discussed the plans. As of now, there are no plans to give any facelift to the tea stall,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI. His comments come a day after he said the tea stall will retain its original charm despite being given a modern touch. “Our aim is to put Vadnagar on world tourism map,” he said.
Officials of the culture ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), led by Sharma, had visited Vadnagar on Sunday to do a recce of the station. The tea stall is located on one of its platforms.
“Union Minister Mahesh Sharma visited Vadnagar to see the beautification and upgradation work of the railway station which is expected to be completed in three months. While the tea stall is currently a makeshift structure, he wished that it be preserved and its renovation be done without changing its original form. Apart from it, an art gallery showcasing the cultural and historical importance of Vadnagar and a waiting hall for the benefit of tourists is coming up. The art gallery will help tourists understand the Buddhist circuit at Vadnagar,” Mehsana Collector Alok Kumar Pandey told The Indian Express.
Later in the day, speaking to reporters back in Delhi, Sharma had said, “Apart from being the birthplace of our prime minister, Vadnagar is an important historical centre having famous Sharmishta Lake and a step-well. ASI had recently found remains of a Buddhist Monastery during excavation, which is still going on.”
In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi often spoke about his experience selling tea along with his father at the said tea stall.
(With inputs from PTI)