PM flags off Katra-Delhi Vande Bharat, 5 other trains from Ayodhya

PM Narendra Modi flags off Vande Bharat between Delhi-Katra and other stations virtually from Ayodhya while Dr Jitendra Singh & Manoj Sinha attend a function at Katra on Saturday.
PM Narendra Modi flags off Vande Bharat between Delhi-Katra and other stations virtually from Ayodhya while Dr Jitendra Singh & Manoj Sinha attend a function at Katra on Saturday.

LG announces Katra-Shiv Khori heli service
*Rs 41,000 cr rail projects in progress in J&K: Dr Jitendra

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Dec 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off six new Vande Bharat trains including the one that will run between New Delhi and Katra bringing Jammu region at par with Varanasi to have two Vande Bharat Express trains.
As the Prime Minister flagged of Vande Bharat between Delhi-Katra from Ayodhya virtually, a function was held at Katra town, the base camp of holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji which was addressed among others by Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh who said Rs 41,000 crore worth Railway projects are under execution in Jammu and Kashmir while Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha declared that the Valley will be linked with train with rest of the country early next year.
Sinha also announced helicopter service between Katra and Shiv Khori, the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in Ransoo area of Reasi district in the coming days.
Besides six Vande Bharat trains, Modi inaugurated the redeveloped Ayodhya railway station and flagged off two Amrit Bharat trains, some virtually. Click here to watch video
He was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and others. Modi was briefed by Vaishnaw about the station.
Six new Vande Bharat trains flagged off by the Prime Minister include the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express, the Amritsar-Delhi Vande Bharat Express, the Coimbatore-Bangalore Cantt Vande Bharat Express, the Mangalore-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express, the Jalna-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express and the Ayodhya-Anand Vihar Terminal Vande Bharat Express.
Meanwhile, addressing a function organized at Katra in connection with inauguration of Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express train, Union Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also Lok Sabha member from Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat, said another Vande Bharat train on the route was possible because of Modi’s commitment to work for overall development of the region.
“The way the railway is laying its network in Jammu and Kashmir, experts will visit the place to know how the train reached Kashmir. The railway network is going to be a catalyst in changing the picture of J&K where one crore pilgrims visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine and another two crore tourists reach the Valley,” Dr Jitendra Singh said.
He informed that rail projects worth over Rs 41,000 crore are currently in progress in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a record in itself as no other Union Territory or State in the country has earned such a distinction. Similarly, more than Rs 6,000 crore have been allocated for the rail sector development in Jammu and Kashmir in the Union Budget, he said.
“The Prime Minister has accorded special attention and focus to the development of this region ever since he assumed the office,” he said, adding that immediately after becoming the Prime Minister, Modi inaugurated Katra Railway Station which had been completed in 2013 reflecting that the holy city has a special place in Modi’s heart.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the Prime Minister had stated that those areas of the country which were not connected would see connectivity under his Government for overall development of the country.
The Union Minister described today’s flagging off the Vande Bharat Express as the Prime Minister’s New Year gift to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially Katra. He said the shortcomings of last 50 years have been addressed by none other than by Modi.
“This is a testament to his commitment for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. The way the web of rail connectivity has been unrolled in J&K, it will be testament to the changing face of the Union Territory,” Dr Jitendra Singh said.
He said record of more than two crore tourists visiting the Valley, and over a crore pilgrims paying obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine this year is an example of that connectivity means.
Dr Singh said the Government has reached the last person in the queue, delivering services like water, power and medical facilities to people. He added that the role of J&K will have a critical importance in a developed India by 2047.
Addressing the function, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced that in the coming days, helicopter service will be introduced between Katra and Shiv Khori.
Presently, the helicopter service is operating from Katra to Sanji Chat benefitting pilgrims of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji shrine. The helicopter service between Katra to Shiv Khori will benefit the pilgrims intending to visit for the darshan of Lord Shiva.
Sinha announced that in the coming months, the Kashmir-Kanyakumari railway link will be dedicated to the people by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not only the people of Jammu and Kashmir, but the entire country is also waiting for the completion of this historic project, he said.
“Today, among the six Vande Bharat trains flagged off by the Prime Minister, one is exclusively designated for the route from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra to New Delhi. This will be the second Vande Bharat train for Jammu and Kashmir. It reflects Modi’s commitment to developing this Union territory,” Sinha said.
After August 2019, the LG said, the connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country has witnessed an improvement.
“The first Vande Bharat train was flagged off between Katra and New Delhi in October 2019 and so far, 94 lakh pilgrims have visited the Vaishno Devi shrine and the pilgrim footfall is likely to cross 95 lakh by the end of this year which is the highest in the past 10 years,” he said.
The work on upgrading the Jammu, Budgam and Udhampur railway stations at Rs 6,003 crore under the Amrit Bharat Scheme is going on at a fast pace, while several other stations in the Jammu region are also being upgraded, Sinha added.
He said the state-of-the-art Vistadome coach was introduced in Kashmir in October and the final location survey is going on for four new railway lines between Awantipora and Shopian, Anantnag and Pahalgam, Sopore and Kupwara and Baramulla and Uri.
“Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the development of basic infrastructure to provide ease of travel, better facilities, job opportunities and connectivity to the last village was ensured. The whole country is seeing a picture of Jammu and Kashmir which is moving up in overall development, peace and prosperity under the guidelines of Modi,” Sinha said.