The Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Mangubhai Patel ji, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan ji, the Union Railway Minister, Shri Ashwini Vaishnav ji, other dignitaries present here and brothers and sisters,
Today is a day of confluence of glorious history and future for Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and for the entire country. Whoever comes to this grand railway station of Bhopal will get a glimpse of the modern and bright future of Indian Railways. The historic railway station of Bhopal has not only been renovated, but its importance has also been enhanced after it being renamed after the queen of Ginnorgarh Kamlapati ji. The pride of Gondwana has added to the importance of Indian Railways. It has happened at a time when the country is celebrating Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas today. I congratulate all the sisters and brothers of Madhya Pradesh, especially the tribal society.
Today the projects of the third line in Bhopal-Rani Kamlapati-Barkheda section, electrified Guna-Gwalior section, electrified and gauge converted Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj-Ujjain and Mathela-Nimarkhedi section have been inaugurated. These facilities will reduce the pressure on one of the busiest rail routes of Madhya Pradesh and strengthen connectivity to important places of tourism and pilgrimage. With the start of MEMU service between Mahakal's city Ujjain and the country's cleanest city Indore, thousands of daily commuters will be directly benefited. Now the people of Indore will also be able to return on time after visiting Mahakal and those employees, businessmen and labor companions who commute daily will also get a lot of convenience.
Sisters and brothers,
Indian Railways is a good example if one has to see how India is changing and how dreams can come true. Till six-seven years ago, the travelers used to crib about the Indian Railways. Crowded and dirty stations, long wait for trains, issues of sitting at stations and food and beverage, dirty trains, tension about security, people carrying chains to lock their bags, and the fear of accidents. This is what comes to mind when speaking about railways then. This was the image which would come to one’s mind. The situation had reached such a point that people had given up any hope of changing the situation. People had assumed that it would go on like this. But when the country sincerely mobilizes for the fulfillment of its resolutions, then improvement comes and change happens. We have been experiencing this since the past few years.
The results of our hard work to give modern experience to the common man of the country are now visible. A few months ago, the country and the world saw the new avatar of Gandhinagar Railway Station in Gujarat. Today, the first ISO certified and the first PPP model based railway station in the form of Rani Kamlapati Railway Station in Bhopal has been dedicated to the nation. The facilities which were once available at the airports are now accessible in railway stations. Facilities like modern toilets, excellent food and beverage, shopping complexes, hotels, museums, gaming zones, hospitals, malls, smart parking, etc are being developed here. It also has the Indian Railways’ first Central Air Concourse. Hundreds of passengers can sit together in this concourse while waiting for the trains and all the platforms are connected to this concourse. As a result, the passengers will not have to rush unnecessarily.
Brothers and sisters,
The common tax payer and the middle class of the country always had expectations of such infrastructure and facilities. This is the real respect to the taxpayer. This is the model of transformation from VIP culture to EPI i.e. Every Person Is Important. More than 200 railway stations are being renovated to transform the entire ecosystem of railway stations.
India is preparing itself for the future and setting up bigger goals with the resolve of AatmaNirbhar Bharat. Today's India is not only making record investments in modern infrastructure, it is also ensuring that projects are not delayed and there is no hindrance. The recently launched PM GatiShakti National Master Plan will help the country in realizing this resolution. The GatiShakti National Master Plan will guide everyone, be it the policies of the government related to infrastructure, the planning of big projects or their implementation. When we form the basis of this master plan, then the resources of the country will also be properly utilized. The government is bringing different ministries on a single platform under the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan. Systems have been developed to ensure that every department gets information about different projects on time.
The redevelopment campaign of railway stations is not limited to facilities only, but it is also a part of the GatiShakti National Master Plan. The campaign for such infrastructure projects in this virtuous period of freedom is meant to give unprecedented momentum to the development of the country. This momentum is for multimodal connectivity and a holistic infrastructure. For example, Rani Kamlapati Railway Station has been connected with an approach road. Huge parking facilities have been developed. Its connectivity with Bhopal Metro is also being ensured. The station has BRTS lanes on both sides for integration of the railway station with the bus mode. Efforts are being made to ensure easy and seamless travel and other logistics. This will ensure ease of living for the common Indian. I am happy that many projects of the Railways are being linked with the GatiShakti National Master Plan.
There was a time when railway infrastructure projects took several years to get off the ground after the planning. I review the progress of every project in PRAGATI meetings every month. You will be surprised that some railway projects came for review, which were announced 35-40 years ago. But not even a line was drawn on paper after 40 years. Well, now I have to do this work too and I assure you that I will do it. But today if there is so much impatience in planning new projects in Indian Railways, there is even more seriousness to complete them on time.
The Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors are a very good example of this. These infrastructure projects, which have the potential to change the picture of transportation in the country, were not completed for many years. But during the last six-seven years, more than 1100 km of the route has been completed and work on the remaining part is going on at a brisk pace.
The same pace of work is visible in other projects as well today. In the last seven years, an average of 2500 kilometers of track has been commissioned every year, whereas in the years before that it used to be around 1500 kilometers. The pace of electrification of railway tracks has been more than 5 times in these years as compared to earlier. In Madhya Pradesh also, out of 35 projects of railways, about 1125 km projects have been commissioned.
The country's growing railway infrastructure benefits the farmers, students, businessmen and entrepreneurs. Today we see how farmers are able to send their produce to far-flung areas of the country through Kisan Rails. The Railways are also giving a lot of discount to these farmers in freight transportation. It is benefiting small farmers a lot. They have got new markets and new capacities.
Indian Railways is not only a medium to connect distances, but it is also becoming an important medium to connect the country's culture, tourism and pilgrimage centres. This potential of Indian Railways is being explored on such a large scale for the first time after so many decades of independence. Earlier, even if the railway was used for tourism, it was confined to a premium club.
For the first time, the common man is being given the divine experience of tourism and pilgrimage at a reasonable amount. Ramayan Circuit Train is one such innovative endeavor. A few days ago, the first Ramayan Express train left for dozens of places during the Ramayana period across the country. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the countrymen about this train.
Very soon, some more Ramayan Express trains are also going to run from different parts of the country. People are also enjoying the experience of Vistadome trains. Extensive reforms are being carried out in all respects in the infrastructure, operation and approach of Indian Railways. The removal of unmanned gates from the broad gauge network has also improved speed and reduced accidents drastically. Today semi high speed trains are becoming a part of the rail network. In the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom, the Railways is planning to run 75 new Vande Bharat trains across the country in the next two years. In other words, Indian Railways is now molding its old heritage into modernity.
Better infrastructure is not only India's aspiration but need. Keeping this in mind, our government is making unprecedented investments on thousands of infrastructure projects, including railways. I am sure that the modernizing infrastructure of India will take the resolutions of self-reliance more rapidly to the common man of the country.
Once again, I congratulate all of you for the modern railway station as well as for many new railway services. I also congratulate the entire team of the Railways for accepting this change, for making this change come true with new enthusiasm. Thank you very much. Many congratulations to all. Thank you very much!