The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi flagged off eight trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya  in Gujarat today, via video conferencing. These trains will facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge railway line, Chandod – Kevadiya new Broad Gauge railway line, newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section and the new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya. Chief Minister of Gujarat and Union Railways Minister were present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister said that, perhaps, for the first time in the history of Railways, trains have been flagged off for the same destinations from different corners of the country. He explained that this is because of the importance of Kevadiya as home to Statue of Unity and Sardar Sarovar. Today’s event exemplifies the vision of railways and mission of Sardar Patel.

Mentioning that one of the Kevadiya bound train is originating from Puruchi Thaliaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Bharat Ratan MGR on his Birth Anniversary. Modi praised his accomplishments on film screen and political platform. He noted that MGR’s political journey was dedicated to poor and he worked tirelessly for a dignified life of the down-trodden. The Prime Minister said that we are working to fulfil his ideals and recalled how the grateful nation renamed Chennai Central Railway station after MGR.

The Prime Minister, pointed out the new connectivity between Kevadiya and Chennai, Varanasi, Rewa, Dadar and Delhi along with MEMU service between Kevadiya and Pratapnagar and broad gauging of Dabhoi-Chandod and new Line between Chandod- Kevadiya will script a new chapter in the development of Kevadiya. This will benefit both the tourists and local Adivasis as this will bring new avenues of self-employment and employment. The railway line will provide  connection to the places of faith like  Karnali, Poicha and Garudeshwar on Narmada.

Continuing with the development journey of Kevadiya,  The Prime Minister asserted that Kevadiya is no longer just a small block in some remote area, it has come up as a one of the biggest tourist destination of the world. The Prime minister informed that Statue of Unity is attracting more tourist than even Statue of Liberty. More than 50 lakh visitor have come to see the Statue of Unity after it was dedicated to the nation and it is catching on after staying closed during the Corona months. It is estimated, as the connectivity improves, about one lakh visitors per day are expected in Kevadiya. Kevadiya as a good example of planned development of economy and ecology while protecting environment, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said that it used to appear like a pipedream when, initially, Kevadiya was proposed as major tourist destination. Given the old way of working, this scepticism had a logic as there was no connectivity of roads, nor street lighting, rail, tourist accommodation. Now Kevadiya has transformed into a complete family package with all amenities. Attractions here include, grand Statue of Unity, Sardar Sarovar, vast Sardar Patel Zoological Park, Arogya Van and Jungle Safari and Poshan Park. It also has Glow Garden, Ekta Cruise and water sports. The Prime Minister said due to increasing tourism, Adivasi youth is getting employment and local people are getting modern amenities. There are new opportunities for local handicrafts items in the Ekta Mall. He also mentioned that about 200 rooms are being developed for Home Stay in the Adivasi villages

The Prime Minister also talked about the Kevadiya Station which has been developed with growing tourism in mind. It has Tribal Art Gallery and Viewing Gallery from where Statue of Unity can be glimpsed.

The Prime Minister dwelled at length on the transformation of Indian Railways through goal-centric effort. He said that apart from traditional role of passenger and goods transportation, railways is giving direct connectivity to places of tourism and religious importance. He said many routes including Ahmedabad- Kevadiya Janshatabdi will have attractive ‘Vista-Dome Coaches’

The Prime Minister also outlined the change in approach for developing railway infrastructure. He said that earlier focus was limited to keeping the existing infrastructure running and there was little attention on new thinking or new technology. It was imperative to change this approach. In the recent years,  work was done on comprehensive transformation of entire railway system and it wasn’t limited to tinkering with budget and new train announcements. The transformation took place on many fronts. He gave example of the present project of connecting Kevadiya where multi-pronged focus led to completion of the task in record time.

The Prime Minister also presented Dedicated Freight Corridor as an example of change in approach from earlier times. The Prime Minister dedicated the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors recently. This project was under progress and between 2006-2014 work was done only on papers with not even a single kilometer track laid. Now a total of 1100 Kilometer are about to be completed in next few days.

Prime Minister also elucidated on new connectivity as unconnected parts of the country are being connected. Speed of broad gauging and electrification has gained momentum and tracks are being prepared for higher speed. This has enabled running of semi high speed trains and we are moving towards high-speed capabilities, for this budget has been enhanced manifold, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that it is being ensured that railways remains environment -friendly. Kevadiya Station is India’s first railway station to start with green building certification.

He also stressed the importance of aatmnirbharta in railway related manufacturing and technology which is yielding good results now. It was due to local manufacturing of high horse power electric locomotive that India could launch the world’s first double stacked long haul container train. Today a series of indigenously manufactured modern trains are part of Indian Railways, Said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister stressed the need for skilled specialist manpower and professionals to meet the requirement of the railway transformation. This need drove the establishment of Deemed Railway University in Vadodara. India is one of the few countries to have an institute of this stature. Modern amenities for rail transport, multi-disciplinary research, training are being made available. Talented youth from 20 states are being trained to steer the present and future of railway. This will help in modernizing railway through innovation and research, Concluded the Prime Minister.

Salient Features of the Project

  • The project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 811 cr.
  •  Land acquisition for new line project was completed as late as July 2020 and the project has been commissioned only in 5 months.
  • It has total of 7 stations with 3 major (crossing) stations & 4 minor (halt) stations.
  • Out of these 4 are new stations – Moriya, Tilakwada, Garudeshwar&Kevadiya, and 3 are existing stations, namely Dabhoi Jn., Vadaj&Chandod.
  • There are 8 major bridges, 79 minor bridges, 9 Road Over Bridges & 31 Road Under Bridges.
  • The sectional speed between Pratapnagar  – Dabhoi has been raised from 75 kmph to 110 kmph in a short span of 75 days &Dabhoi – Kevadiya section has been built with 110 kmph. The speed of the entire section from Pratapnagar – Kevadiya will be further enhanced to 130 kmph.
  • The station buildings at Dabhoi Jn., Chandod&Kevadiya have been designed aesthetically incorporating local features and modern passenger amenities. Also, Kevadiya station is India’s first railway station with a Green Building Certification since inception of construction.
  • Modern engineering techniques & equipment such as Mobile Flash Butt Welding machines, Ready Mix Concrete (RMC), Heavy Earth Moving equipment, Heavy duty Road Cranes & Track Machines were deployed to quicken the pace of Civil Engineering work.
  • A unique technical solution for design of Minor bridges has been adopted by using locally available RCC Hume pipes. This has not only reduced execution time but has also garnered a savings of approx. 27 cr.
  • Innovative technologies such as Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) & Sight Acceptance Test (SAT) for Electronic Interlocking Signalling system through Virtual Mode  (during COVID – 19 pandemic) have been used to speed up the Signalling works & to reduce commissioning time.
  • Tower Wagons, Over Head Equipment (OHE) wiring train were utilized for expedition of Electrification works.

Electrification of Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section

  • Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy.
  • This will provide cleaner, greener, faster & environment friendly Rail Transportation which will reduce carbon footprint.

Major Benefits of the Project

  • Providing seamless rail connectivity to the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ from various directions of the nation.
  • The new Kevadiya Railway station is located approx. 6.5 km away from Statue of Unity’.
  • The alignment passes through the tribal belt of Vadaj – Chandod – Moriya – Tilakwada – Garudeshwar and will bring development to the area/ region.
  • It will also provide connectivity to important religious and ancient pilgrim places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada such as old temples at Karnali, Poicha&Garudeshwar.
  • Boost to both domestic & international tourism.
  • Act as a catalyst for overall socio-economic development of the region
  • Generate new employment & business opportunities.

Salient Features of Kevadiya station

  • Kevadiya Railway Station has been registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for being India’s First Railway Station to be certified as Green Building by IGBC ever since inception of construction
  • LED lights and star rated branded electrical appliances will save electricity.
  • Water management through rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, eco-waterless urinals and drip irrigation.
  • The segregated green waste at source will be reused to produce fertilizer and reduce waste
  • First 2 levels have passenger facilities such as AC Waiting rooms & VVIP Lounge.
  • The 3rd level houses a viewing gallery from which tourists can have a good view of Statue of Unity & a tribal art gallery is also being developed here
  • A 12 feet tall replica of ‘Statue of Unity’ is installed at the prime location of station circulating area. It is also designed by the same sculptor Ram V. Sutar who designed & created the Statute of Unity.
  • The surrounding area has vast parking space, landscaping, thematic park, solar light poles, wide traffic way, horticulture plants, thematic park with selfie zone, food courts & children’s play area.

CONNECTING INDIA, UNITING INDIA

The details of trains connecting Kevadiya to Eastern, Western, Northern, Central & Southern parts of India are as below:

Sr.

No

Train NoFromToTrain Name &  frequency
109103/04KevadiyaVaranasiMahamana Express (Weekly)
202927/28DadarKevadiyaDadar-Kevadiya Express (Daily)
309247/48AhmedabadKevadiyaJanshatabdi Express (Daily)
409145/46KevadiyaH. NizamuddinNizamuddin – KevadiyaSamparkKranti Express (Bi-Weekly).
509105/06KevadiyaRewaKevadiya – Rewa Express (Weekly)
609119/20ChennaiKevadiyaChennai – Kevadiya Express (Weekly)
709107/08PratapnagarKevadiyaMEMU train (Daily)
809110/09KevadiyaPratapnagarMEMU train (Daily)
  • In addition to the above 8 trains which are being flagged off, the following trains will also commence their services:

 

Sr.

No

Train NoFromToTrain Name &  frequency
909249/50AhmedabadKevadiyaJanshatabdi Express (Daily)
1009113/14PratapnagarKevadiyaMEMU train (Daily)
  • Express trains are being run with LHB coaches. Janshatabdi Express has been provided with latest “Vistadome tourist coach”, which is first time on Indian Railways. This coach will provide a panoramic view of the skyline.
  • IRCTC has also doled out a basket of economical tour packages to cater tourists to the Statue of Unity as well as to experience the wonders of vibrant Gujarat.
  • Also, a Budget Hotel with a capacity of 500 rooms is being constructed by IRCTC near Kevadiya station for the convenience of tourists.

It is worth mentioning that the foundation stone for the construction of Statue of Unity was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31st October, 2013, as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The gigantic Statue of Unity standing tall at a towering height of 182 meters warmly opened its doors to the public on 31st October, 2018 on the occasion of the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. This unique idea is a tribute to SardarVallabhbhai Patel – the Iron Man & the architect of the united India. The inspiring leader, Sardar Patel stood tall & integrated the princely states into the Indian union laying the foundation of a strong and prosperous India. As an ode to this great figure, the Indian Railways has succeeded to bring every Indian closer to this great son of Mother India. The bhoomipujan of Kevadiya railway station was executed on 15th December, 2018 by President of India Ram NathKovind in a glorious ceremony. Now, with the commissioning of the Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya rail line as well as inauguration of Kevadiya railway station, it will be easy for people from all across the country to visit this iconic Statue of Unity, many pilgrim sites in this region as well as places of tourist interest in the vicinity of Statue of Unity, including the newly launched Jungle Safari Park, Ekta Mall, Children’s Nutrition Park and Arogya Forest and many more such places of attraction. It is worth mentioning that in comparison to the existing road transport between Kevadiya&Pratapnagar (Vadodara), the rail transport will be more time saving & comparatively economical in terms of fare.

NC

Ka-Chow!