Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express from  Gandhinagar, in Gujarat on September 30, 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express from Gandhinagar, in Gujarat on September 30, 2022.

Modi flags off Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project, inaugurates phase 1; rides new Vande Bharat Express

Ahmedabad, September 30, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express and then waved the green flag for the Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project after inaugurating its first phase.

On the second day of a visit to Gujarat, his home state, the Prime Minister flagged off the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express at Gandhinagar station and travelled on the train from the state capital to the Kalupur Railway Station in Ahmedabad.

He then took a metro ride from Kalupur station to Doordarshan Kendra metro station.

The Prime Minister also witnessed a Metro Rail exhibition that was put up on the occasion.

During the ride in the Metro, the Prime Minister travelled with students, sportspersons and common commuters. He interacted with them. Some of them took his autograph.

The Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project is regarded as a major boost to multimodal infrastructure connectivity. Phase I comprises about 32 km of the East-West corridor from Apparel Park to Thaltej and the North-South corridor between Motera to Gyaspur. The Thaltej-Vastral route in the East-West corridor has 17 stations. This corridor also has a 6.6 km underground section with four stations. The 19 km North-South corridor that connects Gyaspur to Motera Stadium has 15 stations. The entire Phase 1 project is built at more than Rs 12,900 crore.

Addressing a gathering, the Prime Minister said it was a big day for India in the 21st century, urban connectivity and Aatmnirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India).

He praised the soundproofing inside the Vande Bharat Express where the sound was reduced to a hundredth when compared to what is experienced inside an airline.

“With the changing times, it is necessary to continuously modernise our cities with the changing needs,” he said. He pointed out that the transport system in the city should be modern with seamless connectivity where one mode of transport supports the other. In pursuant to this thinking, huge investment was being made in the urban infrastructure, he said.

In the last eight years, in more than two dozen cities either Metro has started or work is in an advanced stage. Dozens of smaller cities have been bestowed with air connectivity under the UDAN scheme. Similarly, Railway stations are undergoing a transformation.

“Today, Gandhinagar Railway Station is no less than any airport in the world," he said. He also mentioned the government’s decision to modernise Ahmedabad Railway Station.

Citing the success of Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar, he elaborated on the twin-city development concept. Many twin cities like Anand-Nadiad, Bharuch-Ankleshwar, Valsad and Vapi, Surat and Navsari, Vadodara-Halol-Kalol, Morvi-Wankaner and Mehsana-Kadi were going to further strengthen Gujarat’s identity.

Modi underlined the role of cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bhopal, Indore and Jaipur in ensuring the developed status in the coming 25 years. Along with the focus on improving and expanding old cities, new ones were being developed to meet the demands of global businesses. “GIFT Cities are also a very good example of such plug-and-play facilities,” he added.

Referring to the Metro, he said this was for the first time a 32 km-long stretch has been operationalised in one go. He also noted the fast completion of the project despite the challenge of constructing the Metro track over the railway line.

About the Vande Bharat Express, he said the journey between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will not only become comfortable but also take less time. While an express train takes roughly seven to eight hours to complete the journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, the Shatabdi train takes six and half to seven hours. The Vande Bharat Express will take a maximum of five and a half hours to complete the journey from Gandhinagar to Mumbai.

The Vande Bharat Express can accommodate more passengers than other trains. Modi also recounted his interaction with the technicians and engineers who designed and made the Vande Bharat coaches and expressed his admiration for their initiative and confidence.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the government launched the FAME scheme to manufacture and operate electric buses so that poor and middle-class commuters could get rid of the smoke emanating from the buses. “So far, more than 7,000 electric buses have been approved in the country under this scheme.

“The Central government has spent close to Rs 3,500 crore on these electric buses. As many as 850 electric buses have been introduced in Gujarat as part of this scheme so far, of which 100 are already plying.

"India of the 21st century considers speed to be a critical factor and guarantee of expeditious development. This insistence on speed is clearly visible in the National Gatishakti Master Plan and also in the National Logistics Policy. It is also evident in the drive to increase the speed of our railways. We are working rapidly on running 75 Vande Bharat trains by August next year. The beauty of India's Vande Bharat train is that it reaches the speed of 100 kmph in just 52 seconds,” he added.

Speaking about the developments made in the railway network, the Prime Minister highlighted that a large part of the country's railway network has been freed from unmanned gates. “Once the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors are ready, the speed of goods trains will also increase and delays in passenger trains will be reduced,” he said.

“In the past years, we have linked infrastructure with people's aspirations. There was a time when announcements regarding infrastructure were made keeping in mind the electoral gains and losses only. The income of the taxpayer was used only for political interests. This government has changed this thinking. The basis of sustainable progress is an infrastructure built with strong and visionary thinking and the work being done today aligns with this thinking,” he added.

He said students of schools and engineering fields should be sensitised to the huge work that goes into the construction of underground and overground Metro and the type of investment that goes into it. This will increase their faith in the role of technology in the country’s progress and also create a sense of ownership in them. A generation that will never damage public property as they will understand the ownership, efforts and investment that goes into them.

Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Railways Minister Ashvini Vaishnav and Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri were among those present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister inspected the train coaches of the Vande Bharat Express 2.0 and took stock of the onboard facilities.

During his ride on the Vande Bharat train, he interacted with his co-passengers including the family members of Railways staff, women entrepreneurs and researchers and youngsters. He also interacted with workers, engineers and other staff.

NNN

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