Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the most modern Rani Kamalapati railway station, earlier known as Habibganj, in the Madhya Pradesh capital and said the creation of such facilities heralds the beginning of transformation from the VIP culture to the 'EPI' (Every Person is Important) model.
He accused the previous governments of being sluggish on implementing railway projects and said the work of ambitious eastern and western dedicated freight corridors expedited only in the last six-seven years.
The Rani Kamalapati railway station, recently named after the queen of Bhopal's Gond kingdom, has the first central concourse with connectivity to all platforms with modern world-class facilities.
The prime minister also said that more Ramayana Circuit (pilgrimage destinations related to Lord Ram) express trains will be launched in the country to promote religious tourism.
He said the Railways is also making efforts to start 75 Vande Bharat trains in the next two years.
Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said travelling by trains in the past was associated with congestion, filth, delays and safety concerns, which is now changing.
"The congestion, filth at railway stations and inside trains, wait for the train, inconvenience in sitting and eating at stations, safety concerns and fear of an accident, all these factors used to weigh heavy on the minds of people when they used to think of travelling by trains," PM Modi said.
He said the situation was so bad that people even gave up the hope of any change in the condition (of railways) but when the country sincerely works for the fulfilment of its resolutions then change happens, which has been seen in the last few years.
"Not only this historic railway station in Bhopal has been revamped, but its importance also increased with the addition of the name of Kamalapati ji, the queen of Ginnaurgarh. The pride of Indian Railways has also been added to the pride of Gondwana," the prime minister said.
Indian Railways' first central concourse linked to all platforms has been built at the Rani Kamalapati station, where hundreds of people can sit together and wait for trains.
"There will be no need for the passengers to run unnecessarily. The station has modern facilities like an airport with a gaming zone, hospital, mall, smart parking, food zone etc," he said.
The prime minister said such facilities were expected by taxpayers and the middle class.
"This is the model of transforming from VIP to EPI, which means every person is important," he said and added that 175 railway stations in the country are being revamped on similar lines.
The PM said various Central ministries are being brought under the 'PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan' for multi-modal connectivity which aims at developing infrastructure to reduce logistical costs.
Several projects of Railways are being connected to the PM Gati Shakti, he added.
"For the first time after so many decades of Independence, the potential of Indian Railways is being explored on such largescale as it 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," the prime minister said.
He said railway tourism was limited to a premium club in the past, but for the first time, common people can now experience tourism and pilgrimage at affordable rates.
"The Ramayana circuit train is such an innovative example," he said.
Meanwhile, the PM accused the previous governments of being sluggish in implementing railway projects.
"Some railway projects which were declared about 35 to 40 years ago were brought in front of me. But not even a single line of such projects was drawn on paper. The Railways is now not only eagerly planning new projects but completing them in time with more seriousness," he said.
The PM said that work on the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors, which have the potential of changing the transportation scenario of the country, is an example of this delay as work was not carried out for years.
"(On the contrary) over 1,100 km of these corridors have been completed during the past 6-7 years and work on the remaining part is going on at a fast pace," Modi said, adding that in the past seven years, about 2,500 km of railway tracks have been commissioned every year, the average of which was 1,500 km in the previous years.
The speed of electrification has increased by five times in these years compared to the previous years, Modi added.
He said the work of the 1,125 km railway track has been completed of the 35 projects in Madhya Pradesh.
Farmers have got a new market due to rail connectivity, he said and added that the people are liking the vista dome trains as well.
Before his speech, the prime minister inspected all amenities at the Rani Kamalapati railway station.
He also watched a short film on the development of this railway station.
The Rani Kamalapati railway station is equipped with an air-concourse and subways, modern air-conditioned male and female waiting lounges, air-conditioned retiring rooms and a dormitory.
The station has the capacity for parking 300 four-wheelers, 850 two-wheelers. It is equipped with lifts, elevators, travelators and ramps besides there are provisions of Wifi, CCTVs, and modern passenger information and entertainment system.
This railway station has been designed as a green building with modern world-class amenities that also takes into account the ease of mobility for the physically challenged.
The station is revamped as a hub for integrated multi-modal transport, according to officials.
The officials said passengers will get direct connectivity of Bhopal metro from the Rani Kamalapati railway station through a skywalk.
The prime minister also dedicated to the nation multiple initiatives of the Railways in Madhya Pradesh including the gauge converted and electrified Ujjain-Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj broad gauge section, the third line in Bhopal-Barkhera section, gauge converted and electrified Mathela-Nimar Kheri broad gauge section and electrified Guna-Gwalior section.
He also flagged off two new MEMU trains between Ujjain-Indore and Indore-Ujjain routes, the officials said.