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‘Taxpayers always expected this kind of facility’: PM Modi inaugurates Rani Kamlapati railway station

Earlier in the day, while speaking at the Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas Mahasammelan in Bhopal, Modi said that the tribal society's contribution to the freedom struggle is being honoured now.

Narendra ModiPM Narendra Modi at Kamlapati Railway Station on Monday (Twitter: @narendramodi)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Habibganj railway station, which has been renamed after Rani Kamlapati, the first Gond queen of Bhopal.

Speaking on the occasion, he said, “Such infrastructure and facilities have always been expected by common taxpayers and the middle class. It’s the real honour of the taxpayers. It’s the model of the transformation from VIP culture to EPI, which stands for Every Person is Important.”

He accused the previous governments of being sluggish on implementing railway projects and said the work of ambitious eastern and western dedicated freight corridors expedited only in the last six-seven years.

Modi also said that more Ramayana Circuit (pilgrimage destinations related to Lord Ram) express trains will be launched in the country to promote religious tourism. He said the Railways is also making efforts to start 75 Vande Bharat trains in the next two years. Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said travelling by trains in the past was associated with congestion, filth, delays and safety concerns, which is now changing.

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“The congestion, filth at railway stations and inside trains, wait for the train, inconvenience in sitting and eating at stations, safety concerns and fear of an accident, all these factors used to weigh heavy on the minds of people when they used to think of travelling by trains,” PM Modi said.

“Not only this historic railway station in Bhopal has been revamped, but its importance also increased with the addition of the name of Kamalapati ji, the queen of Ginnaurgarh. The pride of Indian Railways has also been added to the pride of Gondwana,” he added.

Earlier in the day, while speaking at the Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas Mahasammelan in Bhopal, Modi said that the tribal society’s contribution to the freedom struggle is being honoured now.

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“Today, India is celebrating its 1st ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’. For the first time after Independence, the art and culture of tribal society and its contribution towards freedom struggle and nation-building is being proudly remembered and honoured,” news agency ANI quoted Modi as saying.

He added, “When we discuss tribal society’s contribution to nation-building, some people get surprised. They can’t believe that the tribal society had a big role in strengthening India’s culture. It’s because the nation was either never told about it or was kept in the dark and given very limited information on it…It happened as those who governed the nation for decades after independence prioritised their selfish politics. For decades, the culture and capability of people were ignored, even though they comprise around 10% of India’s population. Their issues, education and health meant nothing for them.”

The PM further said, “I’d also like to remember notable historian and Padma Vibhushan Babasaheb Purandare. I came to know this morning that he passed away. His contribution in taking the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to common people is priceless.”

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Modi reached Bhopal in the afternoon to inaugurate the Habibganj railway station. Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had himself supervised preparations at Jamboree Ground, where five mandals were set up to house more than 2 lakh people.

The new name, intended to honour the bravery and legacy of Rani Kamlapati, was announced by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ahead of Modi’s visit to Bhopal on Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas or Tribal Pride Day.

According to historians from Bhopal, the station was named Habibganj after Habibullah, the grandson of Nawab Shahjahan Begum. “In those days, a measure of land was given to royals as their ‘dugh kharch’. An village was settled in Shahpura, the land that was given to Habibullah. When a railway line was built through the area in 1874-76, a small station came up. In 1969 the family of Habibullah gave land and Rs 15 lakh to develop the station. Hence, it came to be known as Habibganj after Habibullah himself,” historian Rizwanuddin Ansari said.

However, the decision to rename the station, developed at a cost of Rs 440 crore on a PPP model, reflects an attempt by the BJP to regain some of the ground that it lost among tribal and Scheduled Caste voters in the Assembly elections of 2018. The Gonds, who number more than 1.2 crore, are India’s largest tribal group.

(With agency inputs)

First published on: 15-11-2021 at 01:27:01 pm
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