India's PM Modi launches projects worth Rs3,200 crore in Kerala, flags off Vande Bharat train from Thiruvananthapuram
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a slew of projects worth Rs3,200 crore in the capital city of Kerala. He inaugurated the projects at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, soon after flagging off the first Vande Bharat train in the state from the city.
The projects launched included the foundation stone for the country's first digital science park and the Water Metro at Kochi, revamp of three major railway stations, electrification of the Palakkad-Dindigul railway line and a few other developments to railway facilities in the state.
Vande Bharat train
On the same day, Modi flagged off Kerala's first Vande Bharat train from Thiruvananthapuram railway station.
The excitement of the state getting its first Vande Bharat train has been in the air for the past one week when it arrived in the capital city with much fanfare.
The train is being run only for invitees. The first commercial service will start from Kasargod on Wednesday and will reach here in 7 hours and 50 minutes. The first service from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod will begin on Thursday.
While the regular commercial service will have stops at Kollam, Kottayam, Thrissur, Shornur, Kozhikode and Kannur and terminating at Kasargod, the inaugural special train flagged by Modi will stop at more stations.
PM Modi, who arrived at Kochi on Monday evening, reached the Thiruvananthapuram railway station this morning.
After briefly interacting with a group of schoolchildren, who were given the opportunity to travel on the inaugural run, the PM got down and flagged off the train.
The train has 16 coaches of which two are executive with 104 seats.
On its inaugural run, the who's who in the state capital drawn from various sectors of the civil society were invited and included religious leaders, businessmen and technocrats who were spotted seated in the train since morning.
Present along with Modi during the flagging off were Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, local MP Shashi Tharoor among others.
Modi praises Kerala's developments
Prime Minister Modi appreciated the developments that Kerala was making in various sectors and said all what happens in the state will speed up growth in the country.
"The Kochi Water Metro is one which was built under the Make in India programme and congratulated the Cochin Shipyard Limited for building it and this is going to be a model for the rest of the country and I am very happy for it," said Modi.
He also said Kerala has been getting a huge increase in the allocation for railway development compared to the previous years.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan thanked Modi for favourably considering various projects for the state and for taking part in it.
After the event, Modi drove to the Thiruvananthapuram airport from where he left for Surat on a special IAF aircraft, ending his two-day visit to the state.
Modi in Kerala attire
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Kochi on Monday evening for his two-day trip to Kerala dressed in typical local attire, took everyone by surprise when he decided to walk for a while on the streets during his road show. As per the actual programme, PM Modi was supposed to move in his official vehicle. However, he surprised one and all when he decided to walk down the streets.
Thousands of people who were waiting for a long time looked surprised when they saw PM Modi walking past them, waving hands.
As he walked, people showered flowers on him.