Guwahati, May 29 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that the Vande Bharat Express which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day, will prove beneficial for the development of tourism in the state and the northeastern region.
The 18th Vande Bharat Express which became operational on Monday, will connect Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri station in West Bengal. This route witnesses heavy passenger traffic as a lot of people travel regularly on the route.
Addressing reporters, the Chief Minister said: "The semi high speed train will further strengthen the connection between Assam and Bengal. We are very happy. Tourists can travel to the state with further ease and it will boost our tourism sector. The other states of northeast will also get benefits from this newly launched train service."
Vande Bharat will cut short the travel time between Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri by at least an hour.
Also in a series of tweets, Sarma had said this was a "turning point in efforts to modernise northeast's rail network since 2014 -- from high speed train connectivity to 400 per cent increase in railway expenditure".
"With robust implementation of PM-Gatishakti, various roads, air & water connectivity projects, NE has become physically and emotionally very close to the rest of the country," Sarma said.
While virtually flagging off the train, Prime Minister Modi said: "Vande Bharat will provide connectivity to Maa Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga, Manas National Park, and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Furthermore, it will enhance travel and tourism in Shillong, Cherrapunji in Meghalaya and Tawang and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh."
A large crowd had gathered in the Guwahati railway station to witness the inaugural run of the semi high-speed train which will begin its regular run from Wednesday onwards.
Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw, Sarbananda Sonowal and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.