On Day 2 of Gujarat tour, PM flags off Vande Bharat train, launches metro, addresses rallies

Updated: Sep 30 2022 11:52PM

On Day 2 of Gujarat tour, PM flags off Vande Bharat train, launches metro, addresses rallies

Ahmedabad/Ambaji, Sep 30 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express train, opened the first phase of the Ahmedabad Metro rail and addressed a rally in Banaskantha district, where he also laid the foundation stone for a rail project planned in 1930 as he wrapped his two-day visit to poll-bound Gujarat.

On the last day of his latest trip to his home state, where Assembly polls are due by the year-end, the prime minister attended a host of events in Ahmedabad and then travelled to Ambaji in Banaskantha district where he either inaugurated or laid foundation stones for projects worth nearly Rs 7,000 crore before addressing the rally in the famous pilgrimage town.

On Thursday, Modi had attended multiple events in Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhavnagar and launched projects worth Rs 9,400 crore.

Earlier in the day, Modi travelled in the Vande Bharat Express, a semi-high speed train, and also the metro train before addressing a public gathering in Ahmedabad, where he said cities will shape the destiny of India and ensure it becomes a developed nation in the next 25 years.

Modi flagged off the Mumbai Central-bound Vande Bharat Express from Gandhinagar Capital railway station around 10.30 am before boarding the train.

"PM @narendramodi is on board the Vande Bharat Express from Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad. People from different walks of life, including those from the Railways family, women entrepreneurs and youngsters are his co-passengers on this journey," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO India) said in a tweet.

In the photographs attached with the tweet, the prime minister is seen interacting with railway officials, women entrepreneurs and others on board the train.

The train, which connects the capital cities of Maharashtra and Gujarat, is the third Vande Bharat Express in the country. The first such train was started on New Delhi-Varanasi route, while the second one on New Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra route, an official said.

The train will provide passengers aircraft-like travelling experience and advanced safety features, including Kavach technology, an indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System, he said.

"This train will offer world-class comfort and facilities to passengers. The fully air-conditioned Vande Bharat has several modern features, such as sliding doors, personalised reading lights, mobile charging points, attendant call buttons, bio-toilets, automatic entry and exit doors, CCTV cameras, reclining facility, comfortable seats," a release said.

Modi then disembarked from the express train at Kalupur station. At the Kalupur metro rail station, he inaugurated the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro rail between Thaltej and Vastral. After that, he then took a ride in the metro train till Thaltej.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs C R Paatil and Kirit Solanki accompanied him during the journey.

Addressing the gathering at Ahmedabad, Modi said cities will shape the destiny of India and they will ensure that it becomes a developed nation in the next 25 years.

Stating that new cities are being built in the country as per the global business demand, he made a pitch for modernising urban centres as per the changing times and called for the creation of twin cities.

"India of the 21st century is going to get new momentum from the cities of the country. With the changing times, it is necessary to continuously modernise our cities with the changing needs. So much focus is being given and investment being made on the cities in the country, because they will ensure the creation of a developed India in the coming 25 years," he said.

Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur - these cities will shape the destiny of India in the next 25 years. These investments are not limited to connectivity alone, but smart facilities are being put in place in dozens of cities; basic facilities are being improved and suburbs are being developed, he said.

On twin cities, he said, "Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad is an excellent example of how a twin city is developed. Base is being prepared for development of many twin cities in Gujarat. So far, we have heard about the New York-New Jersey twin cities. Our India cannot lag behind." "Along with the focus on improving and expanding the existing cities, new cities are also being built as per the global business demand," Modi said.

Pushing for modernisation of transport systems in cities, the PM said, "There should be seamless connectivity. One mode of transport should support the other." "Today's India considers speed as important and a guarantee for rapid development. This request for speed is also visible in today's Gati Shakti National Master Plan, National Logistics Policy, and campaign to increase the speed of railway," he said.

The new Vande Bharat Express train will reduce the travel time between Ahmedabad and Mumbai from eight hours now to five-and-a-half hours and make the journey comfortable, he said.

Meanwhile, a video showed Modi's convoy stopping briefly to give way to an ambulance when he was travelling to Gandhinagar from Ahmedabad.

Speaking at the second rally in Ambaji town, the prime minister said though the Taranga-Ambaji-Abu Road railway line was conceived nearly 100 years ago during British rule and the project was important, the then-Congress-led UPA government did not give approval for it despite the state government under his chief ministership submitting a proposal for the same.

The PM addressed the rally after performing ground-breaking for the broad gauge railway line project which will be completed at a cost of Rs 2,798 crore.

"Britishers had taken the decision to lay a railway line connecting Taranga Hill, Ambaji (Gujarat) and Abu Road (now in Rajasthan) in 1930, nearly 100 years ago.

This proves the railway line was really needed. But, unfortunately, no decision was taken for its implementation after our independence. The file remained untouched for decades after independence," rued Modi.

"As Gujarat CM, I followed it up and also sent a proposal to the Centre. But no one paid attention because the government was of some other party," said Modi in a veiled attack on the Congress.

The Congress headed the UPA coalition government at the Centre from 2004 to 2014.

However, things changed when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government assumed office at the Centre in 2014, the prime minister said.

"But now, our double engine government (BJP in power in Gujarat as well as at the Centre) has received this opportunity to dedicate this project on the feet of Goddess Amba," said the PM on the second and last day of his latest visit to Gujarat, where Assembly polls are due by the year-end.

On the occasion, the PM either inaugurated or laid foundation stones for nearly 61,000 houses under various government schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna - Gramin and Dr BR Ambedkar Awas Yojna.

The prime minister later offered prayers at the famous Ambaji temple and also performed 'maha aarti' at the nearby Gabbar Tirth. Modi watched a laser show where an image of the Goddess was projected on the Gabbar Hill near the temple. PTI PJT KA PD VT ARU NP KRK RSY .