Maharashtra Governor Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari ji, Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray ji, my colleagues in the Union Cabinet Ashwini Vaishnaw ji and Raosaheb Danve ji, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar ji, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis ji, MPs and MLAs, brothers and sisters!
Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. First of all, I bow respectfully at the feet of the great hero, the protector of India's pride, identity and culture. Many congratulations to every Mumbaikar on the inauguration of the newly constructed fifth and sixth railway line between Thane and Diva, a day before the birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj.
This new rail line will bring an important change in the lives of the people of Mumbai, improving their ease of living. This new railway line will give further impetus to the never-ending life of Mumbai. With the start of these two lines, the people of Mumbai will get four direct benefits.
First- Now there will be separate lines for local and express trains.
Second- Trains going to and from Mumbai for other states will no longer have to wait for the passage of local trains.
Third- Mail/Express trains will now be able to run without any interruption in the Kalyan to Kurla section.
And fourth- Friends in Kalwa and Mumbra have been relieved of the block every Sunday.
Thirty-six new local trains will run on the Central Railway line from today. Most of these are AC trains. This is part of the central government's commitment to expand the facilities of the local trains and modernize them. Metro (rail) has also been expanded in Mumbai in the last seven years. The metro network is being expanded rapidly in the suburban centers adjacent to Mumbai.
Brothers and sisters,
The demand to expand and modernize the local trains that have been serving Mumbai for decades was very old. The foundation stone of this fifth and sixth line was laid in 2008. It was to be completed in 2015, but, unfortunately, the project kept hanging in balance due to different reasons till 2014. After that, we started working on it and sorted out the problems.
I am told that there were 34 places where the new railway line was to be connected with the old one. Our workers and engineers completed this project despite many challenges. Dozens of bridges, flyovers and tunnels were built. I heartily acknowledge and congratulate such commitment towards nation-building.
Brothers and sisters,
Mumbai metropolis has contributed significantly to the progress of independent India. Now efforts are being made to increase the potential of Mumbai manifold in building a self-reliant India. Therefore, we have a special focus on building 21st-century infrastructure in Mumbai. If we talk about railway connectivity, then thousands of crores of rupees are being invested here. The Mumbai suburban rail system is being equipped with modern and best technology. It is our endeavor to expand the Mumbai suburban’s capacity by about 400 kms. Along with a modern signaling system like CBTC, there are also plans to modernize 19 stations.
Brothers and sisters,
Not only within Mumbai, but the rail connectivity of Mumbai with other states of the country also requires speed and modernity. Therefore, Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail is the need of Mumbai and the country today. This will strengthen Mumbai's potential, Mumbai's identity as the City of Dreams. It is the priority of all of us to complete this project rapidly. Similarly, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor will also provide new impetus to Mumbai.
We all know that the number of people travelling by Indian Railways in a day is much more than the population of many countries. Making Indian Railways safe, convenient and modern is one of the top priorities of our government. The Corona global pandemic also could not dent our commitment. In the last two years, the Railways created new records in freight transportation. Electrification of 8,000 km of railway lines has also been completed. About 4,500 kilometers of new lines or their doubling has also been completed. During the Corona period itself, we have connected the farmers with markets across the country through Kisan Rails.
We are also aware that reforms in railways can bring revolutionary changes in the logistics sector of our country. Therefore, the central government has been encouraging all kinds of reforms in the railways for the last seven years. In the past, infrastructure projects continued for years because of a lack of coordination from planning to execution. It is not possible to build the infrastructure of 21st century India with this approach.
Therefore, we have developed the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan. It is an endeavor to bring every department of the central government, state governments, local bodies and the private sector on a single digital platform so that every information related to any infrastructure project should be with every stakeholder in advance. Only then will everyone be able to execute their respective part of the work and plan it properly. For Mumbai and other railway projects in the country, we are going to work with the spirit of GatiShakti.
A thinking has prevailed here for years that we need not invest in the resources being used by the poor and the middle-class people. As a result, the image of India's public transport has always suffered. But now India is moving ahead discarding that old approach. Today the modern railway stations of Gandhinagar and Bhopal are becoming the identity of the Railways. Today, more than 6000 railway stations have been connected with Wi-Fi facilities. Vande Bharat Express trains are giving speed and modern facilities to India’s railways. In coming years, 400 new Vande Bharat trains will start serving the countrymen.
Brothers and sisters,
Our government has changed another approach and that is the trust of the railways in its own potential. There was a lot of indifference about the rail coach factories in the country till 7-8 years ago. Given the condition of these factories, no one could imagine that these factories could also develop modern trains. But today Vande Bharat trains and indigenous Vistadome coaches are being made in the same factories. Today, we are also continuously working on modernizing our signaling system with indigenous solutions. We want indigenous solutions and we want freedom from foreign dependence.
The endeavors to develop these new facilities will greatly benefit Mumbai and its surrounding cities. These new facilities will also provide convenience and new means of earning to the poor and middle-class families. With commitment to the relentless development of Mumbai, I once again heartily congratulate all Mumbaikars.