Updated: January 17, 2021 4:48:42 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off eight trains from various parts of the country connecting to Kevadiya in Gujarat, where the Statue of Unity is located, in a bid to increase tourism in the belt.
Addressing the video conference, Modi said, “In the history of Indian Railways, for the first time, so many trains from various corners of the country have been flagged off for one place. After all, Kevadiya is a place that has its identity with someone who has united the country and given the message of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’. Today’s function resonates the vision of the Indian Railways and the mission of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Among the eight trains, one is also arriving from MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and it’s a pleasant coincidence that today is the birth anniversary of MGR, a leader who ruled over the hearts of the people, whether he was in films or politics. To commemorate the life and efforts of MGR, we have recently changed the name of Chennai Central Railway Station to MGR Central RS. I am also delighted that so many representatives from different states are attending the function.”
The eight trains are Kevadiya-Varanasi (Mahamana Weekly Express), Kevadiya-Dadar (Dadar Kevadiya Daily Express), Kevadiya-Ahmedabad (Janshatabdi Daily Express), Kevadiya-Hazrat Nizamuddin (Nizamuddin Kevadia Sampark Kranti Bi Weekly Express), Kevadiya-Rewa (Kevadia Rewa Weekly Express), Kevadiya-Chennai (Chennai Kevadiya Weekly Express), Kevadiya-Pratapnagar (MEMU Daily) and Pratapnagar-Kevadiya (MEMU Daily).
At the event, Modi said that rail connectivity to Kevadiya will not only provide comfort to tourists but also benefit the local Adivasi population of Kevadiya town. He also spoke about Kevadiya being developed as a world-class family tourist destination.
“The rail connectivity will not only bring comfort to the tourists but also change the lives of the Adivasi people of Kevadiya as it will create opportunities of employment and self employment. The rail lines will also connect to places such as Karnali Ghat, Poicha and Garudeshwar near Narmada and the entire area is filled with spiritual vibration. Today, the number of visitors coming to watch the Statue of Unity has surpassed even those visiting the Statue of Liberty in the US and as many as 50 lakh (5 million) have already visited it after its inauguration. After the corona lockdown, we are having more and more visitors and according to a survey, it has been estimated that as connectivity is increasing, one lakh people are expected to arrive in Kevadiya every day. Today, Kevadiya has emerged as an example of how both development of ecology and economy can be done in a planned manner. Earlier, people were skeptical about Kevadiya being developed as a family tourist destination spot. They used to say that it will take decades to achieve the goal as there were no broad roads, enough street lights, rail connectivity, proper accommodation for tourists. Kevadiya was like any other village of India but in the past few years, a complete transformation has happened. Today, we have world-class facilities including mobile connectivity, seaplane service, good hospitals, street lights and broad roads. The town is a complete package for young, adult and old people and the Adivasi youth are also getting employment as a result of increasing tourism with their lives being touched with modernization and comfort. We see some people have become hotel managers, some have become guides and some have opened cafes in the area. We are also developing a Tribal Art gallery and a viewing gallery at the Kevadiya Railway Station from where visitors can see the Statue of Unity,” said Modi.
Modi also spoke about the efforts of the Indian Railways in the field of technological advancements.
“The Indian Railways apart from being a conventional medium for travel and transportation of goods is now connecting to places of tourism and spiritual importance. In the past few years, unprecedented work has been done towards technological advancements in the Indian Railways. Since our independence, most of our energy has been spent on improving the existing railway system as less focus was on new thinking, innovation and technology at that time. It was extremely important to change this approach and that’s why, in the past years there has been work to overhaul the railway system. The Kevadiya rail connectivity is an example as it was completed in record time despite obstacles. Similarly, dedicated freight corridor is also an example. From 2006 to 2014, work was done only on paper in the dedicated freight corridor project and not a single kilometre of track was laid. However since 2014, 1100 km track is going to be completed. Today, with the modernisation of rail network, such places in the country are being connected to rails, which wasn’t the case earlier. Old railway tracks are being electrified and it is due to these efforts that it is possible to run semi-high speed trains in India today. Had we not made high horse power electronic automotive, then we would have not been able to run double straight long hold container trains in India. A major reason behind fast paced modernization of Indian Railways is our focus on Atma Nirbharta (self independent) on rail manufacturing and rail technology. For that purpose, we need highly skilled specialized manpower and professionals in this sector and setting up of a rail university in Vadodara is a step in that direction,” said Modi.
The event was also attended by Railway Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan and others who attended the event via video conferencing.
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