Vande Bharat Express first step to develop J&K: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah inside a coach of the semi -high-speed train Vande Bharat Express before its flags off ceremony at New Delhi Railway Station, in New Delhi. (Photo/PTI)

Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express to Katra, the base camp of the Vaishnodevi Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, projecting it as the first big step that would help bring development of the region.

Shah, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and S&T Minister Harsh Vardhan, who spoke at the flagging off ceremony at the New Delhi Railway station, said the state-of-the-art express train would take the “fruits of development” to Jammu and Kashmir.

Shah described the reading down of Article 370 and Article 35A as the removal of the biggest obstacle in the development of Jammu and Kashmir. He said the move will ensure complete integration of J&K with the country.

“I am confident that after the removal of Article 370, we will succeed in uprooting terrorism and the ideology of terror from Kashmir,” the Home Minister said.

He said Jammu and Kashmir will rank among the top developed regions in the entire country within the next decade.

Besides the reading down of the Article 370 and Article 35A, the Centre also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which would come into being on October 31.

Shah also said that the Vande Bharat Express was a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of ‘swadeshi’ on the ocassion of his 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

“It is a complete product of Make in India project,” Shah said.

Shah said Vande Bharat Express will reduce the travel time between Delhi and Katra from 12 hours to 8. He described it as a gift for J&K’s development and that would enhance religious tourism.


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