Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off eight trains connecting major destinations in various states of the country with the Statue of Unity in Gujarat's Kevadiya, via video-conferencing.
The trains will connect Kevadiya to Varanasi, Dadar, Ahmedabad, Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin, Rewa, Chennai and Pratapnagar. These trains will facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity.
During the programme, the Prime Minister also inaugurated the Dabhoi-Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge railway line, Chandod-Kevadiya new Broad Gauge railway line, newly-electrified Pratapnagar-Kevadiya section and the new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said that, perhaps, for the first time in the history of Railways, trains have been flagged off for the same destination from different corners of the country.
While addressing the audience, the Prime Minister said the train connectivity will be beneficial for tourists coming to see the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya and it will also help in changing the lives of the tribal community of the region.
"The connectivity will bring new opportunities for jobs and self-employment," said Modi, adding "one lakh tourists will visit Kevadiya everyday after improvement in connectivity".
The eight connectivities include Dabhoi-Chandod-Kevadiya comprising of 50 k electrified section, rightwards arrow Pratapnagar-Kevadiya section comprising of 80 km of electrified section, rightwards arrow Vistadome coaches for scenic journeys, Chandod-Kevadiya New Broad Gauge Rail line, right-pointing triangle Dabhoi-Chandod Converted BG Rail line, right-pointing triangle Pratapnagar-Kevadiya electrified section, and Right-pointing triangle new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya.
Mentioning that one of the Kevadiya-bound trains is originating from 'Puruchi Thaliaivar' M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Bharat Ratna and Tamil film icon 'MGR' on his birth anniversary.
"This will benefit both the tourists and local Adivasis as this will bring new avenues of self-employment and employment. The railway line will provide connection to places of faith like Karnali, Poicha and Garudeshwar on the Narmada."
Continuing with the development journey of Kevadiya, the Prime Minister asserted that Kevadiya is no longer just a small block in some remote area, as it has come up as one of the biggest tourist destinations of the world.
Dwelling at length on the transformation of Indian Railways through goal-centric efforts, Modi said that apart from traditional role of passenger and goods transportation, railways is giving direct connectivity to places of tourism and religious importance.
He said many routes including Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Janshatabdi will have attractive 'Vista-Dome Coaches'
He also presented Dedicated Freight Corridor as an example of change in approach from earlier times. This project was under progress and between 2006-2014 work was done only on paper with not even a single kilometre of track laid. Now a total of 1,100 kms are about to be completed in the next few days, he said.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that it is being ensured that the Railways remain environment-friendly, mentioning that Kevadiya station is India's first railway station to start with green building certification.
He also stressed the importance of "Aatmanirbharta" (self-reliance) in railway-related manufacturing and technology which is yielding good results now. The Prime Minister stressed the need for skilled and specialist manpower and professionals to meet the requirement of the Railways' transformation.