The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi flagged off the Vande Bharat Express train between Bhopal and New Delhi at Rani Kamlapati Railway Station in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh today. Upon arriving at the venue, the Prime Minister carried out an inspection of the Rani Kamlapati – New Delhi Vande Bharat Express and also interacted with the children and crew of the train.
The Prime Minister began his address by expressing grief about the tragedy that occurred during Ram Navmi in a temple in Indore and paid tributes to the departed souls and empathized with their families. He also wished a speedy recovery to those recovering from injuries during this mishap.
The Prime Minister congratulated the people of Madhya Pradesh for getting their first Vande Bharat train. He said that the train will reduce the travel time between Delhi and Bhopal and will usher in many facilities and conveniences for the professionals and youth.
The Prime Minister recalled that he was fortunate enough to also inaugurate the venue for today’s organization, Rani Kamlapati Station. He also expressed gratitude for getting the opportunity to flag off India’s state-of-the-art Vande Bharat Express for Delhi. He pointed out that today is one of the rare instances in the history of Indian Railways that a Prime Minister has visited the same railway station twice in a very short period. The Prime Minister further added that today’s occasion is a prime example of a new order and new traditions being created in modern India.
The Prime Minister talked about his interaction with the school children on the occasion and underlined the sense of curiosity and excitement about the train in the children. “In a way, Vande Bharat is a symbol of India’s enthusiasm and excitement. It represents our skills, confidence and capabilities”, he said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the benefits of the train for tourism in the area as Sanchi, Bhimbetka, Bhojpur and Udayagiri caves will start getting more footfalls. This will also improve the opportunities for employment, income and self-employment.
Emphasizing the new thinking and approach of 21st-century India, the Prime Minister recalled the appeasement by the earlier government at the cost of meeting the needs of the citizens. “They were busy with appeasement (tushtikaran) of the vote bank, we are committed to satisfying the needs of the citizens (santushtikaran)”, he added. Calling Indian Railway, common family transport, the Prime Minister asked why it was not upgraded and modernized earlier.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the governments in the past could have easily upgraded the already existing rail network which India acquired after independence but the development of railways was sacrificed due to vested political interests. Even after decades of independence, the Prime Minister said, the Northeastern states had not been connected to the rail network. The Prime Minister remarked that the government has strived to make Indian Railways the best rail network in the world. Throwing light on the negative publicity that Indian Railways received before 2014, the Prime Minister addressed the issue of thousands of unmanned gates in this extensive rail network causing fatal accidents. He informed that the broad gauge network is free from unmanned gates today. He also noted that earlier, news related to train accidents causing loss of life and property was commonplace but the Indian Railways has become much more secure today. He highlighted the scope of Made in India ‘Kavach’ is being expanded to strengthen the security of passengers.
The Prime Minister stressed that the approach to safety is not limited to just accidents but also that any emergency is immediately attended to during the journey, which is of immense benefit to the women, he said. Cleanliness, timeliness, and black marketing of tickets have all been addressed with technology and concern for the commuters.
Shri Modi said through the ‘One Station One Product’ initiative, Railways is emerging as a powerful tool for taking the products of local artisans from one place to the other. Under the scheme, commuters can buy local products of the district such as handicrafts, art, utensils, textiles, painting etc at the station itself. About 600 outlets are already operational in the country and more than one lakh purchases have been made.
The Prime Minister said that “Today, Indian Railways is becoming synonymous with convenience for the common families of the country.” He listed upgrades like railway station modernization, WiFi facilities on 6000 stations and CCTV on 900 stations in this regard. He highlighted the popularity of Vande Bharat among the youth and the growing demand for Vande Bharat from every corner of the country.
The Prime Minister mentioned the record allocation for railways in this year’s Budget. “When will is there, intentions are clear and determination is firm, new paths emerge”, he said. Shri Modi informed that, in the last 9 years, the rail budget was continuously increased and Madhya Pradesh got Rs 13, 000 crore allocated in the rail-related budget compared to the average of Rs 600 crores in years before 2014.
Giving an example of the modernization of railways, the Prime Minister highlighted the work of 100 percent electrification of the railway network is being achieved in some parts of the country every other day. He informed that Madhya Pradesh is also included in the 11 states where 100 percent electrification has been achieved. The Prime Minister highlighted that the average electrification of railway routes per year has increased tenfold from 600 kilometers to 6000 kilometers after 2014.
“Today, Madhya Pradesh is writing a new saga of continuous development. Be it agriculture or industry, today the strength of MP is expanding the strength of India”, the Prime Minister remarked. He reiterated that the performance of Madhya Pradesh is commendable in most of the parameters of development on which the state was once called ‘Bimaru’. The Prime Minister gave examples of Madhya Pradesh being among the leading states in building houses for the poor. He further added that the state is also doing a fine job in providing water to every household. He also touched upon the farmers of the state and mentioned that they are creating new records in the production of many crops including wheat. He also touched upon the industries in the state and said that it is continuously moving towards new standards, thereby creating endless opportunities for the youth.
The Prime Minister alerted the people about the concerted efforts to malign his image from both inside and outside the country. “India’s poor, India’s middle class, India’s tribals, India’s Dalit-backward, every Indian has become my protective shield”, he said, asking people to stay focused on the development of the country. “We have to further increase the role of Madhya Pradesh in developed India. This new Vande Bharat Express is a part of this resolution”, he concluded.
Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Mangu Bhai Patel, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Union Minister for Railways, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw were present on the occasion.
Vande Bharat Express has redefined the passenger travel experience in the country. The new train being introduced between Rani Kamlapati Railway station, Bhopal and New Delhi railway station will be the 11th Vande Bharat service and 12th Vande Bharat train in the country. The indigenously designed Vande Bharat Express train set is equipped with state-of-the-art passenger amenities. It will provide a faster, more comfortable and more convenient travel experience for rail users, boost tourism and promote economic development in the region.