Modi in Kerala: Launches India’s first water metro and state’s first Vande Bharat train

The Prime Minister said on the occasion that he believes if the states develop, it will help in the development of the country

Kerala, Narendra Modi, P Vijayan, Arif Mohd Khan
PM Narendra Modi inaugurates various development projects in Thiruvananthapuram, flanked by Kerala Chief Minster Pinarayi Vijayan (right) and Kerala Governor Arif Mohd. Khan (left) \ Pic: Twitter/ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday dedicated to the nation various developmental projects, including the Kochi Water Metro and Vande Bharat Express train, and said as states develop, the country will develop faster.

He said the central government lays emphasis on cooperative federalism and believes that if the states develop, it will help in the development of the country. “As Kerala develops, India will develop faster,” Modi said at an event held at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

Earlier, the Prime Minister flagged off the state’s first Vande Bharat Express train from Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station on Tuesday.

Also read: PM Modi receives rousing welcome in Kerala; thousands line the road to see him

PM showcases vibrant India

Addressing a huge crowd at the stadium, Modi — dressed in a traditional Kerala attire of kasavu mundu, shawl and kurta — said many are aware of the economic situations of the countries across the world.

Despite those global headwinds, India has been globally seen as the vibrant spot of development, Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the southern state since Monday, said.

Most public transportation systems in the country, including the Kochi Water Metro, are made in India, he added.

Global outreach programmes of the central government have benefited Indians living abroad. The PM said there were several reasons behind the world’s belief in India and these were a decisive government at the Centre, unparalleled investments in the infrastructure development by it, investments for reaping demographic dividend, skilling of youth and the central government’s commitment for Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.

‘Keralaganam’, the opening song

An over eight-decade-old Malayalam patriotic song, which had been declared in 2014 as the cultural song of Kerala by the state government, was sung as the opening song during the programme attended by the Prime Minister at the central stadium.

This is perhaps for the first time that ‘Keralaganam’ was rendered as the opening song in a major event attended by a VVIP, despite the state government directive in this regard last year.

Penned by freedom fighter-poet Bodheswaran in 1938, ‘Keralaganam’ was sung at the first meeting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly after the formation of the state. Then it was sung by All India Radio artistes Saradamani and Radhamani, known as Paravoor sisters.

Vande Bharat

Prior to flagging off the Vande Bharat Express from Thiruvanathapuram central station, PM Modi interacted with a group of schoolchildren inside one of the coaches of the train. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor were also present with the PM as he interacted with the students inside the train.

The children showed Modi paintings and sketches of him and the Vande Bharat train made by them. Hundreds of people also gathered to see the PM flag off the train.

The Vande Bharat Express, which will connect the state capital with the northern-most Kasaragod district of Kerala, has been projected by many as an alternative to the LDF government’s ambitious semi-high speed rail corridor, SilverLine.

The train will cover 11 districts namely Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.

Rousing welcome

The Prime Minister received a rousing welcome upon his arrival in Thiruvananthapuram as part of his two-day visit to the southern state.

After Modi landed at the Thiruvananthapuram airport, his journey to the Central Railway Station was akin to a roadshow as thousands lined up on the roadsides, hours in advance, to greet him and showered him with flowers as his cavalcade passed them.

Modi briefly stood on the footboard of his vehicle, surrounded by SPG personnel, to wave at the public as well as party workers and supporters on the roadside who cheered him on with drum beats and chants of Modi.

Also read: Kerala governor on why he didn’t receive Modi at Kochi airport; says no official event

Large crowds

Along the entire route from the airport to the railway station, thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life as well as BJP workers and supporters, carrying party flags and placards of Modi, were gathered on the roadside braving the hot and humid weather. Besides the thousands gathered on the roadside, cut-outs of the PM and the Vande Bharat Express were also put up along the nearly six km-long route to the railway station.

The entire state capital was under a tight security net, with deployment of hundreds of police personnel and stringent traffic restrictions, as the PM travelled from the airport to the railway station.

Kerala CM thanks PM Modi

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed the state’s gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allocating a Vande Bharat train for the state and dedicating several development projects to the nation.

This is for the first time that the CM, who has been aggressively campaigning for the proposed SilverLine semi-high speed rail corridor project, is making any remark regarding the southern state’s reception of the Vande Bharat.

Vijayan, during his brief speech, said he was placing Kerala’s “gratitude to you for allocating a Vande Bharat train” and expressed hope that more would follow.

“Developing our railway stations, laying new railway lines, doubling and electrifying existing railway lines, improving our signal systems, increasing the speed of our trains and introducing new trains are all initiatives that need special focus,” he said.

Stating that if the union and state governments work together with dedication, wonders could be made in such areas.

In the days to come, “let us make the development of Kerala a touchstone of cooperative federalism,” the CM told the Prime Minister.

Also Read: All about Kochi Water Metro, which PM Modi will inaugurate on April 25

Interestingly, he did not mention about his government’s proposed ambitious SilverLine semi-high speed rail corridor project, which was forced to be shelved due to protest by local people in some parts of the state and also because of lack of necessary clearance from the Centre.

Thanking the Prime Minister for laying the foundation stone of the Digital Science Park and dedicating the Kochi Water Metro to the nation, Vijayan said he was sure both these initiatives under the Government of Kerala will emerge as models for the entire country.

The Kerala chief minister also listed out a series of welfare and development projects being implemented by the LDF government and said its objective is to transform the southern state into a knowledge economy and innovative society.

While implementing all these projects, the state government is also going ahead ensuring that no one in the society is excluded from enjoying the benefits of development and welfare schemes and projects.

(With Agency inputs)