Modi dedicated Vande Bharat and other rail infra projects to Odisha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Vande Bharat train to the people of Odisha and West Bengal on Thursday, May 18th.

Modi dedicated Vande Bharat and other rail infra projects to Odisha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated several railway projects in Odisha, worth more than Rs 80bn, including Vande Bharat Express, to the nation via video conferencing on Thursday, May 18th.

The railway projects dedicated by Modi include the flagging-off of the Vande Bharat Express between Puri and Howrah, laying the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Puri and Cuttack railway stations, the dedication of 100% electrification of the rail network in Odisha, doubling of the Sambalpur-Titlagarh rail line, a new broad gauge rail line between Angul and Sukinda; the third line connecting Manoharpur-Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Jamga and a new broad-gauge line between Bichhupali – Jhartarbha.

The prime minister called the Vande Bharat Express a symbol of modern and aspirational India while presenting it to the people of Odisha and West Bengal. He claimed that the travel time between Puri and Howrah will be now only six and a half hours, which will save time.

 “India’s speed and progress can be seen whenever a Vande Bharat Train runs from one place to another”, Modi said, adding that this train will entirely change the meaning of development along with the experience of travelling for the passengers.

Modi noted that the railway is the first choice and priority for any citizen who wishes to travel afar and mentioned the other railway development projects whose foundation stone has been laid by him, including the redevelopment and modernisation of Puri and Cuttack Railway Stations, along with the dedication of doubling of rail lines in the region and 100% electrification of Odisha’s rail lines.

The prime minister also emphasised the need to strengthen India’s unity and integrity, referring to his government’s “Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal” campaign. He said India’s collective capabilities can reach the pinnacle if the country remains united. Modi remarked that the Vande Bharat Express is a reflection of such a belief and is becoming India’s development engine while forwarding the spirit of his government’s motto of building “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” (One India, Best India).

“The Indian Railway connects and weaves everyone together in a thread and the Vande Bharat Express will also move forward with the same idea and thought”, Modi said. He further added that Vande Bharat will strengthen the spiritual and cultural connection between Puri and Howrah. He informed 15 such trains are running all over the country.

Modi highlighted that in recent times India has maintained the speed of its development despite extremely adverse circumstances. He credited the participation of the States in the journey.

Taking a dig at the previous governments, Modi asserted that the “New India” under his rule is creating technology indigenously and taking that to every nook and corner of the country. Referring to the indigenous origins of Vande Bharat Trains, he mentioned that India has developed technology like 5G and vaccines during the pandemic.

He underscored that these innovations never remained limited to one state or city but were taken throughout the country in an equal manner. Similarly, Modi said Vande Bharat is touching all corners of the country.

Modi also said that his government’s policy of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (With Everyone for Everyone’s Development) is benefitting those States, which lagged in development. He said that the budget for railway schemes in Odisha has increased significantly under his government.

Modi informed that in ten years before 2014, only 20km of railway tracks were laid annually in Odisha, while 120km-long tracks were laid in the year 2022-23 alone. He said long pending projects like the Khurda-Bolangir line, and the Haridaspur-Paradip line, are being completed rapidly.

“Odisha is one of those states in the country where 100% electrification of rail lines has been achieved”, Modi said while informing that work is underway at a fast pace to achieve the same feat in West Bengal.

According to the prime minister, this has resulted in an overall increase in the speed of trains as well as saved time for freight trains. He noted that a mineral-rich state like Odisha will greatly benefit from the electrification of railway tracks where pollution emanating from diesel engines will be significantly reduced and help in the state’s industrial development.

“The development of the people lags when there is a lack of infrastructure. When infrastructure is developed, the rapid development of the people takes place simultaneously”, the prime minister said emphasising the role of infrastructure development in the overall development of the society.

Highlighting his government’s development initiatives, Modi gave the example of PM Saubhagya Yojana, which has provided free electricity connections to more than 25m households in India, including about 2.5m in Odisha and 725,000 in West Bengal. He also informed that the number of airports in India has increased from 75 to 150 at present.

Modi highlighted the fact that his government has allocated Rs 10 trillion in infrastructure development, which has the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Apart from helping the people with easy commuting options, the prime minister said that railway and highway connectivity also connects farmers with new markets, tourists with new attractions and students with their preferred colleges.

Modi also compared his government’s PM Garib Kalyan Scheme, under which free ration has been provided to 800m Indians with the food offered to thousands of people in Hindu temples across the country, including the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri. “Today the poor are getting all those basic facilities for which they had to wait for years”, Modi said.

“Balanced development of the States is equally necessary for the rapid development of India”, Modi said. He said the 15th Finance Commission recommended higher budgets for states like Odisha and West Bengal.

Modi mentioned that although Odisha has vast natural resources but due to faulty policies it has been deprived of them. He highlighted that his government has reformed the mining policy keeping in mind the mineral wealth, which led to a considerable increase in the revenue of all the States possessing minerals.

Modi also mentioned that the government’s tax income has also increased after the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He stressed that the resources are being used for the development of the state and the service of the poor in the villages.

“The central government is paying full attention to ensure that Odisha can successfully combat natural calamities”, Modi said while informing that the Union government has provided more than Rs 80bn to the coastal state Odisha for disaster management and National Disaster Response Force.

Odisha’s Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan were present on the occasion among others.

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