Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the Vande Bharat Express Train on the Puri-Howrah route via video conferencing.
Modi also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for several railway projects worth more than Rs 8,000 crore in Odisha.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also virtually joined the programme, while Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attended the grand event organised at the Puri railway station.
Among major projects, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stones for the Puri and Cuttack station redevelopment projects, inaugurated Bichhupalli-Jhartarbha new railway line and dedicated Sambalpur-Titlagarh doubling line, Angul-Sukinda new line, Rourkela-Jharsuguda & Manoharpur-Bondamunda third line to the nation.
Besides, he also inaugurated 100 per cent railway line electrification in Odisha, which will reduce the operating and maintenance cost and reduce reliance on imported crude oil.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that the people of Odisha and West Bengal are being presented the Vande Bharat Express which is a symbol of modern and aspirational India.
"India's speed and progress can be seen whenever a Vande Bharat Train runs from one place to another," he said and noted that this pace can now be witnessed in the states of Odisha and West Bengal.
Modi said that this will entirely change the meaning of development along with the experience of traveling for the passengers.
"Be it travelling from Kolkata to Puri for darshan or the other way round, the travel time will now be reduced to only six and half hours, thereby saving time, giving rise to business opportunities and providing new opportunities for the youth," he pointed out.
Modi further said that 15 Vande Bharat Trains are already running in various states, giving a push to the overall economy. IANS