The railways ran a special "unity" train to ferry about 1,000 people from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Narmada district in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to mark the late leader's 143rd birth anniversary Wednesday, a senior official told news agency PTI.
Sardar Patel's Statue of Unity in Gujarat's Narmada district is twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in the US. Iron was collected from all over the country to build the statue.
"The train with over 1,000 passengers left Varanasi yesterday and reached Gujarat just in time for the people to see the prime minister unveil the statue. This was a special train to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel," Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar told new agency PTI.
Several Union ministers participated in the "Run for Unity", organised across the country today to mark the occasion. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal led the commemorative "Run for Unity" in the national capital.
"This tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the form of the Statue of Unity finally recognises his contributions to our national unity and solidifies his legacy in the history of this nation.
"There were more than 550 princely states in this nation that were united by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, making the India we know today. Imagine if this had not happened, we would have to take permission from every state to run trains across their jurisdiction," Mr Goyal said.
The railways also ran a special train from Gujarat to Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu today as a show of unity, symbolising the journey of the Indian Railways from one part of the country to another, Mr Kumar said.