AHMEDABAD, Jan 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off eight trains connecting Gujarat’s Kevadia, where the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel is located, to different regions of the country.

Modi said more tourists flock to the Statue of Unity than the Statue of Liberty in the US, adding nearly 50 lakh tourists have visited the former since it opened in 2018. He referred to the Dedicated Freight Corridor project as “an example of the way things functioned in our country in the past”.

“A few days ago, I inaugurated a large section (of the Dedicated Freight Corridor). On this very important project, in eight years work was done only on paper. From 2006 till 2014, not even one km track was laid. Now, in the next few months, 1,100-km work will be completed,” he said.

Modi also inaugurated three railway stations and a broad gauge line connecting Dabhoi to Kevadia, via video link on Sunday. The prime minister said this is possibly the first time that so many trains were flagged off at the same time for one destination.

Unlike in the past when less focus was given to new ways of thinking and technology, wide changes have been made in the railway system, with the government’s focus on self-reliance in railway manufacturing and technology being a big reason behind the change, he said.

Besides tourists visiting the Statue of Unity, the local populace will be the biggest beneficiary of the new rail connectivity, he said. “Today, Kevadia is no longer a small place in a remote area of Gujarat. It is emerging as the world’s biggest tourist destination,” he said. Despite everything remaining closed for months during coronavirus pandemic, the number of tourists visiting Kevadia is increasing fast, he added.

He said the new Kevadia railway station is an example of his government’s efforts to ensure that the Railways remain environment-friendly. “Kevadia station is the country’s first to get green building certification from the beginning,” he said.

The Ahmedabad-Kevadia Jan Shatabdi Express, one of the eight trains, is equipped with the Vistadome coaches which offer large viewing areas with rooftop glasses and seats for passengers. Modi said the Vistadome coaches on trains to Kevadia will make the travel attractive.

The eight trains Modi flagged off will connect Kevadia, around 200 km from Ahmedabad, to Varanasi, Dadar in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, Chennai and Pratapnagar in Vadodara. – PTI