The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi flagged off Rajasthan’s first Vande Bharat Express train via video conferencing today.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister congratulated the land of valour Rajasthan for getting its first Vande Bharat Train that will not only ease the travel between Jaipur Delhi but will also give a push to the tourism industry of Rajasthan as it will help the access to places of faith like Theerthraj Pushkar and Ajmer Sharif.
In the last two months, the Prime Minister recalled getting the opportunity to flag off six Vande Bharat trains in the country including the Delhi-Jaipur Vande Bharat Express and gave the example of Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat Express, Mumbai-Shiridi Vande Bharat Express, Rani Kamlapati-Hazrat Nizammuddin Vande Bharat Express, Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat Express and Chennai Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express. The Prime Minister pointed out that approximately 60 lakh citizens have traveled in the Vande Bharat Express since its inception. “The speed of Vande Bharat is its main speciality and it is saving the time of people”, the Prime Minister said. According to a study, the Prime Minister noted that those who travel by Vande Bharat express save 2500 hours on every trip. He highlighted that the Vande Bharat Express is developed while keeping in mind manufacturing skills, safety, fast pace and beautiful design. Reiterating that the citizens have highly appreciated the Vande Bharat Express, the Prime Minister said that the Express train is the first semi automatic train to be developed in India and one of world’s first compact and efficient trains. “Vande Bharat is the first train to be compatible with the indigenous safety Kavach system”, Shri Modi said. He pointed out that it is the first train to scale the heights of Sahyadri Ghats without needing an extra engine. “The Vande Bharat Express realizes the spirit of ‘ ‘India First Always First’”, he said. The Prime Minister expressed delight that the Vande Bharat Express has become synonymous with development, modernity, stability and ‘Atmanirbharta’.
The Prime Minister lamented the fact that an important and basic need of the citizens like railways was turned into an arena of politics. He said India inherited a fairly big railway network at the time of Independence but political interest dominated the need for modernization in the years after independence. Politics was evident in selection of railway minister, announcement of trains and even in recruitments. Land acquisition was done under the false pretense of railway jobs and many unmanned crossings continued for a very long time and cleanliness and safety took a back seat. The situation took a turn for the better after 2014 when people elected a stable government with full majority, “When the pressure of political give and take receded, railway heaved a sigh of relief and sprinted to new heights” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the government at the center is making Rajasthan a land of new opportunities. He said that the central government has done unprecedented work for the connectivity that is so important for a state like Rajasthan which has tourism as an important part of its economy. Shri Modi mentioned the dedication of Delhi Dausa Lalsot section of Delhi Mumbai Expressway in February. The section will benefit Dausa, Alwar, Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi and Kota districts. The Prime Minister informed that the central government is working on about 1400 kilometer long roads in the border areas in Rajasthan and more than 1000 kilometer long roads are proposed in the state.
Underlining the priority that is being accorded to connectivity in Rajasthan, the Prime Minister mentioned starting of work on the railway line from Taranga Hill to Ambaji. This line was a century old pending demand which is now being fulfilled. He also informed that broad gauging of Udaipur-Ahmedabad line has already been completed and more than 75 percent railway network has been electrified. Shri Modi remarked that the railway budget for Rajasthan has been increased 14 times since 2014, from 700 crore in 2014 to more than 9500 crore rupees this year. Speed of doubling of the railway lines also doubled. The gauge change and doubling has helped tribal areas like Dungerpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi. Dozens of stations are being upgraded under Amrit Bharat Railway Yojana, he added.
Keeping in mind the convenience of the tourists, the Prime Minister informed that the government is also running different types of circuit trains and gave the example of Bharat Gaurav circuit trains that have made more than 70 trips so far ferrying more than 15 thousand passengers. “Be it Ayodhya-Kashi, Dakshin Darshan, Dwarka Darshan, Sikh pilgrimage sites, Bharat Gaurav circuit trains have been run for many such places”, the Prime Minister said. Noting the positive feedback received on social media by those traveling, the Prime Minister said that these trains are continuously strengthening the spirit of Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat.
The Prime Minister highlighted the One Station One Product campaign and said that Indian Railways has made another effort over the years in taking the local products of Rajasthan across the country. He pointed out that Indian Railways has set up around 70 One Station One Product Stalls including Rajasthan Jaipuri quilts, Sanganeri block print bed sheets, rose products, and other handicrafts that are being sold in these stalls. He noted that small farmers, artisans and handicraftsmen of Rajasthan have got this new medium to reach the market. Concluding the address, the Prime Minister said that this is an example of everyone’s participation in development. “When the infrastructure of connectivity like rail is strong, then the country is strong. This benefits the common citizen of the country, benefits the poor and middle class of the country”, the Prime Minister concluded and expressed confidence that the modern Vande Bharat train will play an important role in speeding up the development of Rajasthan.
The inaugural train will run between Jaipur and Delhi Cantt. railway station. The regular service of this Vande Bharat Express will start from 13th April, 2023 and will operate between Ajmer and Delhi Cantt with stops at Jaipur, Alwar and Gurgaon.
The new Vande Bharat Express will cover the distance between Delhi Cantt. and Ajmer in 5 hours 15 minutes. The present fastest train in the same route, Shatabdi Express, takes 6 hours 15 minutes from Delhi Cantt. to Ajmer. Thus, the new Vande Bharat Express will be faster by 60 minutes as compared to the present fastest train running on the same route.
Ajmer-Delhi Cantt. Vande Bharat Express will be the world’s first semi high speed passenger train on high rise overhead electric (OHE) territory. The train will improve connectivity of major tourist destinations in Rajasthan including Pushkar, Ajmer Sharif Dargah etc. Enhanced connectivity will also provide a boost to socio-economic development in the region.