Odisha likely to get second Vande Bharat : Vaishnaw

Puri: Odisha is likely to get a second Vande Bharat Express, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said here Thursday.

The first semi high speed train in Odisha on the Puri-Howrah route was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtualLY during the day.

The union minister, who was speaking at a programme at Puri railway station after the flagging off, said the railways is planning to launch Vande Sleeper and Vande Metro in Odisha.

There are plans to run Vande Metro in Puri-Bhubaneswar-Cuttack in January-February next, Vaishnaw, who is elected to Rajya Sabha from Odisha, said.

Vaishnaw said he along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give another Vande Bharat and Vande Metro to Odisha.

Odisha will now have world class railway, telecom, internet and highway connectivity, he said. The Modi government has allocated around Rs 10,000 crore for the development of railway in Odisha. Apart from the railways, the telecom department has provided Rs 5,600 crore to improve connectivity in Odisha, he said.

Vaishnaw urged the Odisha government to extend its cooperation to make the state the number one state in the country. He sought the state’s help in the acquisition of land, in maintaining law and order and forest depratment approval for projects.

The Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat with 16 coaches will commence service from May 20. It will cover a distance of 500 km in about six and a half hours, officials said.

The service will be available six days a week, except Thursdays. There will be seven stops – Khurda Road, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajpur Keonjhar Road, Bhadrak, Balsore and Kharagpur where the train will halt for two minutes each, the officials said.

The fare for AC chair car is Rs 1,265, including catering charge of Rs 162, and Rs 2420 for executive chair car, including catering charge of Rs 195. If a passenger opts for no food option, the catering charge will not be added to the fare, they said.