Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM's address at flagging off eight trains facilitating seamless rail connectivity to Statue of Unity

Posted On: 17 JAN 2021 1:48PM by PIB Delhi

Namaskar!

A very beautiful picture of ‘Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat’ is visible here today. Today, the profile of this programme is very vast, historic in itself.

Shri Acharya Devvratji, Governor of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupaniji, Chief Minister of Gujarat,are present at Kevadiya. Shri Rajendra Trivediji, Speaker, Gujarat Assembly, is in Pratapnagar. Nitin Patel ji, deputy CM of Gujarat from Ahmedabad, my colleaguesin the Union Cabinet PiyushGoyalji, External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankarji, Dr Harsh Vardhanji and Delhi Chief Minister Bhai Arvind Kejriwal have joined this programme from Delhi. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhanjiis with us from Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra Chief Minister Bhai Uddhav Thackeray jiis also present in Mumbai. From Varanasi, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanathji is associated with us. Besides, hon’ble ministers, Members of Parliament, MLAs of other State Governments, including Tamil Nadu, are also with us in this mega programme today. It is a matter of great happiness that many members of the extended family of SardarVallabhbhai Patel jiare present in Anandand have come to bless us today. Today, many senior artists from the art world and many stars of the sports world are also connectedwith this programme in large numbers. Along with them have come our people, in the form of God, our dear brothers and sisters, and the children who represent the bright future of our India. I greet you all.

This is probably the first time in the history of the Railways that so many trains have been flagged off from different corners of the country to one place. After all, Kevadiya is such a place. It is identified by the world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity, of Sardar Patel who gave the country the mantra of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’, who unified the country, and the SardarSarovar Dam. Today's event truly signifies India as one and defines both the vision of Indian Railways and the mission of SardarVallabhbhai Patel. And, I am happy that there are so many public representatives from different states present in this programme. I express my gratitude to all of you.

One of the trains destined for Kevadiya is also coming from PuratchiThalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway station. It is also a pleasant coincidence that today is also the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna MGR. MGR ruled the hearts of the people, from film screens to political screens. His life and his entire political journey was devoted to the poor. He worked continuously to ensure a dignified life for the poor. Today, we are making all efforts to fulfill these ideals of Bharat Ratna MGR. A few years ago, the country renamed the Chennai Central Railway Station in his honour. I salute Bharat Ratna MGR and pay homage to him.

Friends,

Today, it is a wonderful and proud moment for the entire country that Kevadiyawill have direct rail connectivity from every direction of the country. A short while ago, Kevadiya Express from Varanasi, Rewa, Dadar and Delhiapart from Chennai and JanShatabdi Express from Ahmedabad have left for Kevadiya. Similarly, MEMU service has also started between Kevadiya and Pratapnagar. The widening of the Dabhoi-Chandod railway line and the new railway line between Chandod and Kevadiya is now going to write a new chapter in the development journey of Kevadiya. And today, when I am associated with this railway programme, some old memories are also getting refreshed. Very few people would know that a narrow-gauge train used to run between Baroda and Dabhoi. I often had the opportunity to travel in it. At one point of time, I had a very special attraction towards Mother Narmada and I would come here often. I used to spend a few moments of life on the lap of Mother Narmada and at that time we used to travel in this narrow-gauge train. And the fun of this narrow-gauge train was that its speed was so slow that you could hop and get off easily. And sometimes, if you walked along with it, it appeared as if your speed was more than the train. I also used to enjoy it but today it is converting into broad-gauge.The biggest advantage of this rail connectivity will be available to the tourists who come to see the Statue of Unity;it is also going to change the lives of the tribal brothers and sisters. This connectivity will also bring new opportunities for employment and self-employment besides providing convenience. The railway line will also connect the important religious places like Karnali, Poicha and Garudeshwaron the banks of the Mother Narmada and it is true that the entire region is full of spiritual vibration.  With this new development, it is a very big gift for the people who usually come here for spiritual activity.

Brothers and sisters,

Today, Kevadiya is no longer a small block in the remote area of Gujarat, but it is emerging as the world's largest tourist destination. The number of tourists arriving to see the Statue of Unity is more than the tourists visiting the Statue of Liberty. Since its inauguration, about 50 lakh people have come to see the Statue of Unity. After months of closure due to corona, the number of tourists coming to Kevadiya is now increasing rapidly. A survey estimates that up to one lakh people will start coming to Kevadiya every day in future as connectivity improves.

Friends,

The small beautiful Kevadiya is a great example of how both the economy and ecology can be developedrapidly while protecting the environment in a planned way. Many of the dignitaries present here in this programme may not have gone to Kevadiya, but I am sureyou will also be proud of this magnificent place in your countryonce you see the development journey of Kevadiya.

Friends,

I remember, when it was initially talked about making Kevadiya the best family tourist destination in the world, people felt it was a dream. People used to say, "It is not possible, it cannot be. It will take many decades to do so.” Well, they had a valid argument based on the previous experiences. There were no wide roads to go to Kevadiya, no street lights, no rails, no better arrangements for the stay of tourists. Kevadiya was like any other small village of the country. But, in a few years, Kevadiya has been completely rejuvenated. There are wide roads to reach Kevadiya, there is a full tent city for stay, there are other good arrangements, there is better mobile connectivity, good hospitals and a few days ago, the seaplane service has started and today Kevadiya has connected with so many rail routes in the country.The city is serving as a complete family package in a way. You can imagine the grandeur of the Statue of Unity and the vastness of the SardarSarovar Dam only after visiting Kevadiya. Now there is Sardar Patel Zoological Park, spread over hundreds of acres, and jungle safari. On the one hand, there is a wellness forest based on Ayurveda and yoga and, on the other hand, there is a nutrition park. There is a flaring glow garden at night, and there is a cactus garden and butterfly garden to see in the day. For tourists, there is Ekta (Unity) Cruise, and on the other hand, rafting is alsothere for the youngsters. That isthere is a lot for everyone, be it children, young or elderly. Due to growing tourism, the tribal youth are getting employment and modern facilities are easily available to the people. Someone has become a manager, a café owner, or a guide. I remember when I went to the special Aviary Dome for birds in the zoological park; there was a local female guide who briefed me in great detail. In addition, the local women of Kevadiya are getting the opportunity to sell their handicraft goods at the special Ekta Mall. I am told that more than 200 rooms are being identified and developed as Tourist Home Stay in the tribal villages of Kevadiya.

Brothers and sisters,

The railway station that has been builtat Kevadiya has also taken care of tourism as well as convenience. A Tribal Art Gallery and a Viewing Gallery are also being developedhere. Tourists will be able to see the Statue of Unity from this Viewing Gallery.

Friends,

Such a target-centric effort is also a testimony to the changing nature of Indian Railways. Indian Railways is playing its role of traditional passenger trains and goods trains and alsoproviding direct connectivity to our major tourism and religious circuits. Now, vistadome coaches are going to make the journey of Indian Railways more attractiveon many routes. Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Jan Shatabdi Express will also be among the trains which will have the facility of “vistadomecoaches".

Friends,

The work that has been done to modernize the country's railway infrastructure over the years is unprecedented. After independence, most of our energy was spentin rectifying or improving the existing railway system. The focus on new thinking and new technology was minimal then. It was very necessary to change the approach and, therefore, sweeping changes in the entire railway system were madein the country in the last few years. It was not confined only to increasing or decreasing the budget, or announcing new trains. These changes have happened simultaneously on several fronts. Now, for example, this project connecting Kevadiyawith the train network. As shown in the video, there were many hurdles like weather or Corona pandemic during its construction. But the work was completed in record time, and the new construction technology that the Railways are now using has helped a lot. The new technology was usedfrom laying tracks to construction of bridges, and locally available resources were utilized. Tests were conducted through virtual mode to speed up signalling work. Earlier, projects were often stuck in the wake of such obstacles.

Friends,

The Dedicated Freight Corridor project is also an example of the work culture that was prevalent in our country. I had the opportunity to inaugurate a large section of the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors a few days ago. The project, which was very important to the nation, remained on paper for about eight years from 2006 to 2014. Till 2014, not one kilometer of track was laid. Now, in the next few months, altogether 1100 kilometres of track is going to be completed.

Friends,

With the modernisation of the railway network in the country, today, the parts of the country are being connected to the railways which were not yet connected. Today, the old rail routes are being widened and electrified with more speed than ever before and the rail tracks are being enabled for higher speed. That is why it is possible to run semi high speed trains in the country today and we are moving fast towards high speed track and technology. The budget for this work has been increased manifold. Also, it is also being ensured that the railway is environment friendly. Kevadiya Railway Station is the first station in India to have received certification as a green building from the beginning.

Brothers and sisters,

One of the major reasons for rapid modernisation of the Railways is our focus on self-sufficiency in railway manufacturing and railway technology. The work that has been done in this direction over the years is now gradually visible to us. Imagine, if we did not make high horsepower electric locomotives in India, would the world's first double stack long haul container train run India? Today, each of the modern trains built in India is part of the Indian Railways.

Brothers and sisters,

Today, when we are moving towards the transformation of the Indian Railways, highly skilled specialist manpower and professionals are also very important. This is the motive behind the establishment of India's first Deemed Railway University in Vadodara. India is one of the few countries in the world to build such a high institution for railways. All kinds of modern facilities like rail transport, multi-disciplinary research and training are being made available here. Hundreds of meritorious youth from 20 states are training themselves to improve the present and future of the Indian Railways. The innovations and research here will further help in modernizing the Indian Railways. With the wish that the Indian Railways continues to give impetus to the development track of the country, I congratulate the entire country, including Gujarat, for these new railway facilities. When this sacred place of the Statue of Unity will be visited by people speaking different languages and wearing different attires from every nook and corner of India, the view of the unity of the country in the form of mini India will be visible to us as envisaged by SardarSahab as ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. Today is a very special day for Kevadiya. There is a new chapter in the continuous efforts that are being made for the unity and integrity of the country. I once again congratulate everyone very much!

Many many thanks!

 

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

***

DS/AKJ/VK/AK



(Release ID: 1689315) Visitor Counter : 306