President Droupadi Murmu, today (21 November) flagged off three new trains in Odisha, to provide connectivity to the underdeveloped tribal areas of the state.
The President also undertook an inaugural trip on the Badampahar-Shalimar weekly express from Badampahar to Rairangpur, a village about 13 km away from her birthplace — Uparbeda.
It is for the first time in 91 years that this area has come up on the Indian Railways map and express trains have started.
According to the Railways, the Shalimar-Badampahar weekly express will be the first-ever express train connecting Shalimar near Kolkata in West Bengal, with Badampahar in Odisha.
Sanjiv Sahu, a local trader who runs a cloth shop in the local market, who also took a ride on the first day said, "The train service will be benefitting us immensely, as now we will bring our wares from Kolkata by train and not by bus. It was a great difficulty to bring our stuff in a bus."
Sabita Sahu, a home maker, said "Now we can plan a trip to Kolkata as the this train is leaving for that big city from here."
Badampahar station was beautifully decorated and cultural events were held to welcome the President and other dignitaries. The event witnessed a huge gathering of locals, including school children, who came to celebrate the historic moment.
"Providing connectivity to the tribal areas of the country is Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's priority. These three trains will benefit the mineral-rich areas in many ways,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said during the inaugural event at Badampahar in Mayurbhanj district in Odisha.
Besides Vaishnaw, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and Governor of Odisha Raghubar Das, among other senior leaders and Railway officials, were present at the flagging-off ceremony.
The three trains — Shalimar-Badampahar and Badampahar-Rourkela weekly express trains and one MEMU between Badampahar and Tatanagar — will connect tribal areas with bigger cities and give a huge boost to the local economy, access to healthcare and tribal tourism, a Railways official said.
President Murmu also virtually inaugurated the new Rairangpur Postal Division, released a commemorative special cover of Rairangpur Postal Division and laid the foundation stone for redevelopment of Badampahar Railway station on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that the development of any area depends on the connectivity of that area. Be it rail, roads or postal services — all these services make people's lives easier, she added.
The President stated that the three new trains would help locals travel to neighbouring states like Jharkhand and West Bengal. She added that people will also not face any inconvenience in visiting Odisha's industrial town, Rourkela.
The President highlighted that the union government is taking various initiatives for the development of tribal communities. She noted that there is almost three times increase in the current budget, compared to the budget for the financial year 2013-14.
President Murmu stressed that inclusive development is incomplete without the development of tribal people. That is why the government is giving priority to the development of tribal communities, she added, urging tribal youth to take advantage of the government’s schemes.
The President also emphasised that one’s effort is also necessary for self development and that youth should keep trying to move forward in their lives.
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