The northeastern region of the country got its first Vande Bharat Express today as the maiden journey of the first semi-high-speed train from Assam was virtually flagged off from Guwahati by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off Assam's first Vande Bharat Express that will connect Guwahati with New Jalpaiguri, via video conferencing, and took a jibe at previous governments for being involved in corruption and neglecting connectivity and development of the northeastern states.
This is the 18th Vande Bharat Express service, which became operational on Monday.
“Indian Railway has become a medium of connecting hearts, societies and opportunities to the people along with speed”
Guwahati, May 29 The northeastern region of the country will get its first Vande Bharat Express today as the maiden journey of the first semi-high-speed train from Assam was virtually flagged off from Guwahati by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Addressing virtually, Modi said today, it is a big day for rail connectivity in the northeast, including Assam.
"Three projects related to northeast connectivity are going on simultaneously. Firstly, northeast today got its first made-in-India, Vande Bharat. Secondly, electrification work has been completed on railway tracks of around 425 km between Assam and Meghalaya and third DEMU/MEMU (workshop for trains) shed at Lumding," he said.
He also said that today, there is a lot of discussion in the whole world about the infrastructure work being done in India. Because this infrastructure makes life easier. "This infrastructure creates employment opportunities. This infrastructure is the basis of rapid development. This infrastructure empowers the poor, dalits, backward, tribals, every such deprived," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said that the Guwahati -New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat train will strengthen the centuries-old ties between Assam and West Bengal. This will increase ease of travel and provide huge benefits to students and will increase job opportunities arising out of tourism and business. He said that this Vande Bharat will provide connectivity to Maa Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga, Manas National Park, and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Furthermore, the Prime Minister pointed out that it will enhance travel and tourism in Shillong, Cherrapunji in Meghalaya and Tawang and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh.
"The last nine years have been of unprecedented achievements for India, of building a new India. Only yesterday the country got the grand and divine modern Parliament of Independent India. This is the Parliament to connect India's thousands of years old democratic history with our prosperous democratic future," Modi said.
He further said that after coming to power, his government gave the highest priority to the welfare of the poor. "From houses to toilets for women, from water pipeline to electricity connection, from gas pipeline to AIIMS Medical College, road, rail, waterways, port, airport, mobile connectivity, we have worked with full force in every field," he highlighted.
Modi said that in the last nine years, the budget has been increased manifold in comparison with the pre-2014 era for the railways. "The average railways budget was around Rs 2,500 crore for the northeast. This time, however, the rail budget for the northeast is around Rs 10,000 crore," he said.
"Along with speed, today Indian Railways is also becoming a medium to connect hearts, connect society and connect people with opportunities," he added.
This is also the first Vande Bharat service in the northeast.
The Vande Bharat Express will run between Guwahati (Assam) and New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) stations.
"The train will pass through Kamrup Metropolitan, Kamrup Rural, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirang, Kokrajhar districts of Assam, and Alipurduar, New Coochbehar and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. People in these areas will be able to reap the benefit of modern rail travel comfortably," Sabysachai De, Chief Public Relation Officer of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) said.
The NFR in a statement said "with the arrival of Vande Bharat Express in Assam, people of Northeast, Assam in particular will be able to experience travelling by rail with speed and comfort".
As the semi-high speed train comprises all the latest amenities, the difference can be well experienced by the people of the Northeast during travel.
According to the railway authority, the existing rail travel time on the speediest train on the New Jalpaiguri-Guwahati section will be reduced by about an hour. Sectors like trade, tourism and travel of this region will benefit immensely.
The inaugural run of Vande Bharat Express will commence from Guwahati at 12 noon on Tuesday and will reach New Jalpaiguri at 6 p.m. Regular services of the train will start from Wednesday.
De said: "In its one-way journey, the Vande Bharat Express will cover a distance of 411 km in 5 hours and 30 minutes. The composition of the train will be of eight coaches with a seating capacity of 530 people."
"As Lumding is the gateway to the hilly northeastern states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and other parts of Assam, this new facility will be helpful for maintaining DEMU rakes operating in this region, leading to better operational feasibility and passenger amenity," De said.