The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation, several railway projects worth more than Rs 8000 crores in Odisha via video conferencing.
- The projects include flagging off the Vande Bharat Express between Puri and Howrah, laying the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Puri and Cuttack railway stations, 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 – Sukinda; the third line connecting Manoharpur – Rourkela – Jharsuguda – Jamga and a new broad-gauge line between Bichhupali – Jhartarbha.
- Addressing the gathering, he remarked that the people of Odisha and West Bengal are being presented the Vande Bharat Express today which is a symbol of modern and aspirational India.
- India’s speed and progress can be seen whenever a Vande Bharat Train runs from one place to another, he noted that this pace can now be witnessed in the states of Odisha and West Bengal. This will entirely change the meaning of development along with the experience of travelling for the passengers.
- Be it travelling from Kolkata to Puri for darshan or the other way round, the travel time will now be reduced to only six and half hours, thereby saving time, giving rise to business opportunities and providing new opportunities for the youth.
- He 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 today including the redevelopment and modernization of Puri and Cuttack Railway Stations, along with the dedication of doubling of rail lines in the region and 100 percent electrification of rail lines in Odisha.
- Referring to the era of Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal, he emphasised the need to strengthen the unity and integrity of the country and said that the collective capabilities of the country can reach the pinnacle if the country remains totally united.
- He remarked that the Vande Bharat Express is a reflection of such belief where it is becoming the engine of development for the country while forwarding the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.
- 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. Train will strengthen the spiritual and cultural connection between Puri and Howrah. Fifteen Vande Bharat Trains are already running in various states of the country giving a push to the economy of the country.
- He said that this policy of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas is benefitting those states, which lagged behind in development. The budget for railway schemes in Odisha has increased significantly. Before 2014, only 20 km of Railway Lines were laid annually in the state, while in the year 2022-23, 120 km long lines were laid in just one year. 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 percent electrification of rail lines has been achieved, and work is underway at a fast pace to achieve the same feat in West Bengal. This has resulted in the overall increase in the speed of trains as well as saved time for freight trains. The mineral-rich state of Odisha will greatly benefit from the electrification of rail lines where pollution emanating from diesel engines will be significantly reduced and help in the industrial development of the state.
- Governor of Odisha, Shri Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister for Railways, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan were present on the occasion among others.
- The Prime Minister flagged off the Vande Bharat Express between Puri and Howrah. The train will pass through Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak, and Balasore districts in Odisha and Paschim Medinipur, and Purba Medinipur districts in West Bengal.
- The train will provide a faster, more comfortable and more convenient travel experience for rail users, boost tourism and promote economic development in the region.
- The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Puri and Cuttack railway stations. The redeveloped stations will have all modern amenities providing a world-class experience to the rail passengers.
- The Prime Minister dedicated 100% electrification of the rail network in Odisha. This will reduce the operating and maintenance cost and reduce reliance on imported crude oil.
- The Prime Minister also dedicated the doubling of the Sambalpur-Titlagarh rail line; a new broad gauge rail line between Angul-Sukinda; the third line connecting Manoharpur-Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Jamga and a new broad-gauge line between Bichhupali-Jhartarbha.
- These will cater to the increased traffic demands as a result of rapid industrial development in the steel, power & mining sectors in Odisha and will also help ease the pressure on passenger traffic in these rail sections.
Source: PIB- Press Release | Images Credit: East Coast Railway