The second Vande Bharat Express connecting the holy city of Katra with New Delhi was flagged off on December 30, 2023. With this, Katra is among the first lot of cities in the country to have two Vande Bharat Express trains.
While Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh joined the function from Katra railway station, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off the Mata Vaishno Devi Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
The Minister informed that rail projects costing over INR 41,000 crore rupees are being run in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a record in itself as no other Union Territory or state in the country has earned such a distinction. Similarly, more than INR 6,000 crore rupees have been allocated for the development of Jammu and Kashmir in the Union Budget.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said the government has accorded special attention and focus to the development of this region.
Singh said that the Prime Minister had stated that those areas of the country which remained not connected would see connectivity under his government for overall development of the country.
He said the way the web of rail connectivity has been unrolled in J&K, it will be testament to the changing face of the Union Territory.
Singh said a record more than two crore tourists visiting the Valley, and over a crore pilgrims paying obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is an example of that connectivity, the minister emphasised. The Minister said the role of J&K will have a critical importance in a developed India by 2047.Lieutenant Governor J&K, Manoj Sinha also joined the flag-off ceremony from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station. He also highlighted the unprecedented growth registered in the tourism sector and shared the efforts of the administration to strengthen the religious tourism circuit in the region.
“Several incredible tourist destinations of Jammu division are witnessing huge tourist influx and boost to the local economy of far off-the-beaten-track. Shiv Khori Shrine Board is committed to the development of Shiv Khori Shrine. I hope Heli service from Katra to Shiv Khori will start in the coming days,” the Lt Governor said.
J&K is witnessing fast-paced quality infrastructure development. Last-mile connectivity for inclusive development has also enhanced ease of living for citizens in far-flung areas, increased economic activities and livelihood opportunities, he said.
“We have undertaken road and railway infrastructure projects of unprecedented magnitude and they are being implemented at an unprecedented speed. It is also a symbol of our unshakable commitment to all-round progress of the Union Territory,” the Lt Governor further added.