PM flags off Assam’s first Vande Bharat Express train

It will connect Guwahati with New Jalpaiguri. “The NDA government in nine years has made achievements unthinkable earlier,” says Prime Minister Modi.

PM flags off Assam’s first Vande Bharat Express train

Representational image

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the NDA Government in the last nine years has made such outstanding achievements which were unthinkable earlier, while the Congress governments in the previous decade had broken all records of scams.

Prime Minister Modi, who flagged off Assam’s first Vande Bharat Express train connecting Guwahati with New Jalpaiguri, via video conferencing, said that this Vande Bharat train will strengthen centuries-old ties between Assam and West Bengal, and reduce journeys to five and a half hours.

Modi said the scams had done maximum harm to the poor, and to regions which lagged behind in development because of them. Reversing the trend, his government gave priority to welfare of the poor, he said.


From houses for the poor, toilets for women, drinking water pipelines, electric connections to gas pipelines, and from AIIMS-medical colleges, road, rail, ports, waterways, airports and mobile connectivity, the government deployed its energy in every sphere of development, he said.

Today, he said, the whole world is discussing the development of infrastructure in India. It is infrastructure which makes lives easy for people. It gives jobs, speedy development, and empowers the poor, Dalit, Backwards, Adivasis and every deprived section of society, he said.

Infrastructure serves everyone, equally, without any discrimination and therefore infrastructure construction is therefore a form of social justice and secularism, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said the biggest beneficiaries of the infrastructure push have been the states of Eastern and Northeastern India. Earlier, the people of the Northeast were without even basic facilities for decades. A large number of villages and families which did not have electricity, telephone or good rail road air connectivity until nine years ago, were from the Northeast.

When the work is done with a mission to serve, it brings quick change and rail connectivity in the North East region is an example of this, he said. The speed, scale and determination with which the work on rail connectivity in the northeast was done, proved this, Modi said.

The Prime Minister said Assam, Tripura and Bengal had railway connectivity during the colonial times, but the objective then was to loot natural resources of the region. However, there was neglect of expansion of the railways in the region after Independence, which was finally corrected by the current government after 2014.

He said that he gave the highest priority to Northeast people’s sentiments and needs for facilities. A change was widely noticed and evident in the North East. Compared to years before 2014, the average railways budget for the Northeast was about Rs 2500 crore, which has now grown to more than Rs 10,000 crores this year, a four-fold increase.

Now capitals of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim are being connected to the rest of the country. “Rs 1 lakh crore are being spent on these projects,” he said.

“The scale and speed of the development works of the government has been unprecedented,” the Prime Minister remarked as he noted that new rail lines are being laid in the Northeast at three times the pace than before and the doubling of rail lines is taking place nine times faster than before.

He said the Vande Bharat service inaugurated on Monday will provide connectivity to Maa Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga, Manas National Park, and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. It will enhance travel and tourism in Shillong, Cherrapunji in Meghalaya and Tawang and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Prime Minister said many remote areas of the Northeast today were connected with railways. Nagaland got its second railway station after almost 100 years. Now Vande Bharat Semi High-speed trains and Tejas Express are running on routes where once stood a narrow gauge line capable of low speeds. He said the Vista Dome coaches of the Indian Railways had become a center of attraction for tourists.

“Indian Railway has become a medium of connecting hearts, societies and opportunities to the people along with speed,” the Prime Minister remarked as he highlighted the opening of the first transgender tea stall at Guwahati Railway Station.

He stated that it is an attempt to give a life of respect to those who wanted better behaviour from society. Under the ‘One Station, One Product’ scheme, the Prime Minister said stalls have been set up at railway stations in the Northeast with an approach of Vocal for Local thereby providing a new market for local artisans, artists, and craftsmen.

“It is only with this combination of sensitivity and speed that Northeast will move forward on the path of progress and pave the way towards a developed India,” he said.