Union Minister of State (MoS) for Railways, Rajen Gohain, has formally flagged off the much-awaited Rajdhani Express from Agartala Railway Station.
The New Delhi-bound train was flagged off by Gohain on Saturday afternoon in the presence of Governor Tathagatha Roy, ministers and government officials of the state.
The train will ply once a week initially, starting every Friday and will cover a distance of 2413 km from Agartala station to Anand Vihar in around 40 hours.
Addressing the gathering, Gohain said, "Every government spoke about the development of northeast, but nothing happened and It was only during the last three years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government came to power, the issue of region's development started gaining prominence."
The Union Minister also assured that there was no dearth of fund for the railway projects in northeastern region.
He also expressed hope that all state capitals of the region shall be connected by BG rail line by 2019.
"Now Arunachal has already been connected and the rail line reached up to Mizoram border and work is in progress. Nagaland work is on, Imphal has also been connected and further progress is underway. I have noticed that during the last three-four years there has been rapid changed in Tripura due to rail connectivity and is in the top of the list among the northeastern state," Gohain added.
He further said that work for several rail projects was ongoing in the state, including a rail line to Bangladesh and a 114-km long major Agartala-Sabroom line of which 53 km has already been completed.
Gohain claimed that he had personally intervened to assure that the shortest rail line is allotted for the Agartala-Delhi Rajdhani.
Meanwhile, Tripura Governor Roy, a former engineer of the Indian Railways, praised the role of the engineering and construction staff for taking major challenge to connect the region by BG rail.
"More important than creation of employment is that the BG rail link shall free Tripura out of the curse by opening various avenues and bringing hopes for development of Tripura in a new manner. In spite of being isolated, Tripura has huge resources from natural gas, rubber, fruits like the sweetest pineapple of the globe, tourist spots but they were not utilized properly to some extend due to its geographical isolation. Whatever may be the reason, but as railways has opened the door with the Rajdhani Express this curse shall be overcome," Roy said.
The new train has also left the passengers elated.
"I am going to Kanpur from Agartala and this train service will be a great help for common people as now anyone can go by Rajdhani Express to many places directly. This will be of great benefit because earlier there was air ticket crisis and everyone could not afford it. Moreover, it is not possible to cover long distance by, bus but now we can go everywhere by train," passenger Swapan Saha told ANI.
Another passenger Mawli Saha said, "I have never travelled in Rajdhani and felt good as for the first time I am travelling to Kanpur and feeling good. Had there been no train, we would have been compelled to take flight, which is costlier."