The Prime Minister called the flagging off of nine Vande Bharat trains an unprecedented occasion of modern connectivity in the country
NEW DELHI: Flagging off nine Vande Bharat Express trains connecting religious and tourist destinations across 11 states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the speed and scale of infrastructure development matched the aspirations of 140-crore Indians. Asserting that his government is working for the transformation of Indian Railways, he rued that earlier not much attention was given to its modernisation.
These nine indigenously built semi-high-speed trains will provide faster connectivity across 11 states -- Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand and Gujarat.
In his address, the Prime Minister called the flagging off of nine Vande Bharat trains an unprecedented occasion of modern connectivity in the country. “This speed and scale of infrastructure development in the country is exactly matching the aspirations of 140-crore Indians,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the trains started today are more modern and comfortable and are symbols of a new enthusiasm of new India.
Mr Modi expressed delight about the growing popularity of Vande Bharat. He said that more than 1.11-crore passengers have travelled on Vande Bharat trains.
Stressing the importance of railways in the lives of common citizens, the Prime Minister noted that Indian Railways is the most trusted co-passenger of India's poor and middle-class population and the number of people who travel on railways in one day is greater than the population of many countries.
Lamenting the neglect of this important sector under previous governments, Mr Modi said, "It is unfortunate that not much attention was given to modernising Indian Railways. But now our government is working for the transformation of Indian Railways."
Elaborating on the efforts of the current government for the transformation of Indian Railways, the Prime Minister informed the audience that this year's budget for railways is eight times the rail budget of 2014. He also talked about the ongoing work on doubling, electrification and new routes.
The Prime Minister emphasised that India on the path to becoming a developed nation will now have to modernise its railway stations as well. "I am confident that the changes taking place at every level in Indian Railways and society will prove to be an important step towards a developed India," the Prime Minister said.
“To achieve the goal of a developed India by 2047, the development of every state and the people of every state is necessary,” Mr Modi emphasised.
The Prime Minister stated that selfish thinking about concentrating railway development in the state of the railway minister has damaged the country a lot. Now we simply cannot afford to keep any state backwards. “We have to move ahead with a vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” he said.
Addressing the railways employees, the Prime Minister asked them to make every journey memorable for the passengers. “Every employee of the Indian Railways has to remain constantly sensitive towards ease of travel and to provide a good experience to the passengers,” he said.
Governors, chief ministers, Union ministers and elected representatives were present at the nine railway stations from which the indigenously built semi-high-speed trains were flagged off.
These Vande Bharat trains will be the fastest along the routes of their operation and will help save considerable time for the passengers. As compared to the current fastest train along the Rourkela-Bhubaneswar-Puri and Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram routes, the Vande Bharat Express will be faster by about three hours. Likewise, on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru route, the Vande Bharat Express will be faster by more than two-and-a-half hours, on the Tirunelveli-Madurai-Chennai route by over two hours, on the Ranchi-Howrah, Patna-Howrah, and Jamnagar-Ahmedabad routes, the Vande Bharat Express will be faster by about one hour; and on the Udaipur-Jaipur route, the Vande Bharat Express will be faster by about half-an-hour.
“In line with the Prime Minister’s vision to improve the connectivity of important religious places across the country, the Rourkela-Bhubaneswar-Puri Vande Bharat Express and Tirunelveli-Madurai-Chennai Vande Bharat Express will connect the important religious towns of Puri and Madurai. Also, the Vijayawada-Chennai Vande Bharat Express will operate via the Renigunta route and will provide connectivity to the Tirupati Pilgrimage centre,” the government said.
These trains, equipped with world-class amenities and advanced safety features, including Kavach technology, will be a key step towards providing modern, speedy and comfortable means of travel.