- Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express
- He said Article 370 was "biggest roadblock" in J&K's development
- Vande Bharat Express will reduce Delhi-Katra travel time to 8 hours
The Vande Bharat Express - India's fastest train - from Delhi to Katra in Jammu is "a big gift" for Jammu and Kashmir's development and for promoting religious tourism, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said today while flagging off the train from the capital.
The high-speed train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on the way to Vaishno Devi temple, to eight hours from the current 12 hours. The train's commercial run will begin from Saturday and bookings are open.
This is the second Vande Bharat Express, the first runs between Delhi and Varanasi.
The Home Minister said that Article 370, that granted special status for Jammu and Kashmir, was the "biggest roadblock" in the state's development. "Before the abrogation of Article 370, there were many obstacles in Jammu and Kashmir's path to development. In the next 10 years, Jammu and Kashmir will be one of the most developed states. The journey of development has begun with Vande Bharat Express set to boost tourism in state," Mr Shah said.
Mr Shah was accompanied by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Dr Harsh Vardhan. "Railways will connect country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari before 15th August, 2022," Mr Goyal said.
"A Navratri gift for my sisters and brothers of Jammu as well as devotees of Maa Vaishno Devi! The New Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Maa Vaishno Devi, Katra will improve connectivity as well as spiritual tourism," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Just like the previous version which runs between Delhi and Varanasi, the railways has not applied the dynamic fare principle on the new Vande Bharat train for the Delhi-Katra route.
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will start from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm. On its way, the train will have stops at Ambala Cantonment, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the return journey the same day, the Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from Katra at 3 pm to reach the New Delhi Railway Station at 11 pm.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
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