Kolkata: On December 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the semi-high-speed train Vande Bharat Express that will run between Howrah and New Jalpaiguri for the first time in West Bengal.
The first Vande Bharat Express was Inaugurated on February 15, 2019 from New Delhi to Varanasi reducing the Travel Time upto 15 per cent. After the success of the New Delhi–Varanasi route and the later New Delhi – Katra route, the Railway Board approved the production of 45 new Vande Bharat train sets by 2022 following which the production was delayed due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
Further after the first and the second route, the third Vande Bharat was launched on September 30 between Mumbai Central and Gandhinagar Capital, adding to it the fourth, fifth train and the sixth train between New Delhi – Amb Andaura, Chennai Central – Mysuru Junction, Bilaspur – Nagpur Junction on October 30 and November 11 respectively.
Notably, it’s the nation’s seventh Vande Bharat express train between Howrah-New Jalpaiguri (NJP) flagged off through a video conferencing by the PM minutes after the last rite of his mother Heeraben Modi.
Covering a distance of around 550km the train will take a little more than seven and a half hours to reach its destination, with only three stoppages from Howrah to NJP. Similarly, another train Shatabdi also runs between the two terminals.
From New Jalpaiguri, the train will depart at 3.05 pm and reach Howrah at 10.35 pm. The train will depart at 5.50 am from Howrah and reach New Jalpaiguri at 1.25 pm. The Vande Bharat will run six days a week keeping the services off on Wednesdays.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also supposed to virtually lay the foundation stone of the redevelopment project of New Jalpaiguri Railway station which will be the first international train terminal of the country.
Following the demise of the Prime Minister ‘s mother Heeraben Modi on December 30 who was admitted to an Ahmedabad hospital on December 28 after which her condition deteriorated.
PM who was scheduled to flag off the Vande Bharat Express from Kolkata, attended the programme via video conferencing.
Earlier in the day the Prime Minister informed the nation about her demise on December 30. Informing about her demise, “A glorious century rests at the feet of God… In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values”, mentioned the Prime Minister posting a heartfelt tweet.
शानदार शताब्दी का ईश्वर चरणों में विराम… मां में मैंने हमेशा उस त्रिमूर्ति की अनुभूति की है, जिसमें एक तपस्वी की यात्रा, निष्काम कर्मयोगी का प्रतीक और मूल्यों के प्रति प्रतिबद्ध जीवन समाहित रहा है। pic.twitter.com/yE5xwRogJi
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 30, 2022
Condolences across party lines were offered by politicians across the country across Party Lines on the death of the Prime Minister’s mother. Several Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, offered their condolences to the bereaved Prime Minister and his family.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee too offered her condolences.
Condolences to PM @narendramodi Ji on the passing away of his mother, Heeraben Modi. I pray that her soul rests in peace.
In this hour of grief, I hope that he and his family members find strength.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 30, 2022
“Condolences to PM @narendramodi Ji on the passing away of his mother, Heeraben Modi. I pray that her soul rests in peace. In this hour of grief, I hope that he and his family members find strength,” she tweeted. (with further inputs from ANI)