History was created in Gujarat on Sunday, 17th January, 2021, as the world’s tallest statue – THE STATUE OF UNITY of Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadiya came on Indian Railway’s map. The region is now connected to rest of India after eight new trains were flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On this occasion, PM inaugurated the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge rail line (18 km), new Broad Gauge railway line from Chandod to Kevadiya (32 km), Newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 km), the new station buildings of Dabhoi Jn., Chandod & Kevadiya and flagged off 8 new trains from various destinations to Kevadiya through video conferencing. With this marvelous milestone, a seamless connectivity by rail has been provided to pilgrims, passengers & tourists alike from different parts of the country visiting the various holy places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada as well other places of interest in the vicinity of Statue of Unity.
According to a press release issued by Sumit Thakur – Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, Piyush Goyal – Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India virtually addressed the event from Hazrat Nizamuddin. This was followed by the speech by Vijaybhai Rupani- Chief Minister of Gujarat at Kevadiya. Later the screening of a short film showcasing the various milestones attained in commissioning the Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya Rail line & accomplishing the project within the set time goal by overcoming various hurdles of COVID – 19 pandemic and unusual rains. Chief Ministers Uddhav Thackeray of Maharashtra, Yogi Aditya Nath of Uttar Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Shri Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi also virtually.
On this occasion, Acharya Devvrat – Governor of Gujarat, Gitaben V. Rathva – Member of Parliament, Chhota Udepur and Alok Kansal – General Manager of W. Rly were also present at Kevadiya. Nitinbhai Patel – Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat attended the joined event virtually at Ahmedabad station. The inaugural function was also attended at Pratapnagar station by Yogesh Patel – Miniter of State of Narmada & Urban Housing, Govt. of Gujarat, Ranjanben D. Bhatt – Member of Parliament, Vadodara, Rajendra Trivedi – assembly Speaker, Manisha Vakil – MLA and Seemaben Mohile – MLA.
At Ahmedabad railway station, Members of Parliament Dr. Kirit P. Solanki, Hasmukhbhai S. Patel and Narahari Amin attended the event. MPs Rahul Shewale, Gopla Shetty and Arvind Sawant alongwith MLAs Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Tamil R. Selvan and Kalidas Kolambkar were present at Dadar station. Suneet Sharma – Chairman & CEO, Railway Board alongwith Railway Board Members, and various senior railway officers were also present through web link. Renowned celebrities from arts, music and sports attended the event virtually. All passengers traveling in the inaugural trains from Kevadiya, Ahmedabad, Dadar and Pratapnagar were presented with Souvenir Tickets to commemorate this historic event.
To make the inaugural run even more memorable, IRCTC served packed lunch and dinners on board to all passengers from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Rewa, Nizamuddin, Chennai, Varanasi and Pratapnagar to Kevadiya. More than 3200 packed lunch and dinners were served onboard to all passengers and Rail Neer packaged drinking water. IRCTC also provided RTE / PAD Items on Sale basis onboard multiple trains that originated from Mumbai, H. Nizamuddin, Rewa, Chennai and Varanasi.
Passengers traveling in the inaugural run expressed great delight of the services provided in the trains and enjoyed their travel to Kevadiya. Many passengers shared their experience and said that they were proud to participate in the mega event. Rajasthan Meter Gauge Pravasi Sangh, President Vimal Ranka, ZRUCC Member & General Secretary of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh – Kailash Verma and ZRUCC Member Yogesh Mishra appreciated the efforts of Indian Railways and expressed gratitude for these development projects which will not only boost economy & tourism in these areas but will also increase options for employment.
Giving details of the project, Thakur informed that the 50 km long Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya section has been commissioned by converting the 18 km long Dabhoi – Chandod Narrow Gauge section to Broad Gauge and further extension of new Broad Gauge railway line from Chandod to Kevadiya (32 kms). Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has also been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy. This will now provide seamless rail connectivity from all directions of our country.
The details of the project are summarized as under:
Salient Features of the Project
● The project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 811 cr.
● Land acquisition for new line project was completed as late as July 2020 and the project has been commissioned only in 5 months.
● It has total of 7 stations with 3 major (crossing) stations & 4 minor (halt) stations.
● Out of these 4 are new stations – Moriya, Tilakwada, Garudeshwar&Kevadiya, and 3 are existing stations, namely Dabhoi Jn., Vadaj & Chandod.
● There are 8 major bridges, 79 minor bridges, 9 Road Over Bridges & 31 Road Under Bridges.
● The sectional speed between Pratapnagar – Dabhoi has been raised from 75 kmph to 110 kmph in a short span of 75 days & Dabhoi – Kevadiya section has been built with 110 kmph. The speed of the entire section from Pratapnagar – Kevadiya will be further enhanced to 130 kmph.
● The station buildings at Dabhoi Jn., Chandod & Kevadiya have been designed aesthetically incorporating local features and modern passenger amenities. Also, Kevadiya station is India’s first railway station with a Green Building Certification since inception of construction.
● Modern engineering techniques & equipment such as Mobile Flash Butt Welding machines, Ready Mix Concrete (RMC), Heavy Earth Moving equipment, Heavy duty Road Cranes & Track Machines were deployed to quicken the pace of Civil Engineering work.
● A unique technical solution for design of Minor bridges has been adopted by using locally available RCC Hume pipes. This has not only reduced execution time but has also garnered a savings of approx. 27 cr.
● Innovative technologies such as Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) & Sight Acceptance Test (SAT) for Electronic Interlocking Signalling system through Virtual Mode (during COVID – 19 pandemic) have been used to speed up the Signalling works & to reduce commissioning time.
● Tower Wagons, Over Head Equipment (OHE) wiring train were utilized for expedition of Electrification works.
Electrification of Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section
● Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy.
● This will provide cleaner, greener, faster & environment friendly Rail Transportation which will reduce carbon footprint.
Major Benefits of the Project
● Providing seamless rail connectivity to the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ from various directions of the nation.
● The new Kevadiya Railway station is located approx. 6.5 km away from Statue of Unity’.
● The alignment passes through the tribal belt of Vadaj – Chandod – Moriya – Tilakwada – Garudeshwar and will bring development to the area/ region.
● It will also provide connectivity to important religious and ancient pilgrim places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada such as old temples at Karnali, Poicha&Garudeshwar.
● Boost to both domestic & international tourism.
● Act as a catalyst for overall socio-economic development of the region
● Generate new employment & business opportunities.
Salient Features of Kevadiya station
● Kevadiya Railway Station has been registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for being India’s First Railway Station to be certified as Green Building by IGBC ever since inception of construction
● LED lights and star rated branded electrical appliances will save electricity.
● Water management through rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, eco-waterless urinals and drip irrigation.
● The segregated green waste at source will be reused to produce fertilizer and reduce waste
● First 2 levels have passenger facilities such as AC Waiting rooms & VVIP Lounge.
● The 3rd level houses a viewing gallery from which tourists can have a good view of Statue of Unity & a tribal art gallery is also being developed here
● A 12 feet tall replica of ‘Statue of Unity’ is installed at the prime location of station circulating area. It is also designed by the same sculptor Shri Ram V. Sutar who designed & created the Statute of Unity.
● The surrounding area has vast parking space, landscaping, thematic park, solar light poles, wide traffic way, horticulture plants, thematic park with selfie zone, food courts & children’s play area.
Crossing Hurdles, Creating Landmarks:
● Land Acquisition
The land acquisition work commenced on 14.08.2018. This was given a major thrust during the period from Jan – July 2020 and acquisition was completed within seven months including the COVID – 19 pandemic period.
Total Land acquired: 222.00 ha
Govt. Land: 46.60 ha
Private Land: 175.40 ha
▪ Efforts have been made to maximize utilization of non-agricultural land
▪ Unstinting support & assistance from State Government resulted in the smooth & timely completion of land acquisition.
▪ Major bottlenecks which caused infringements in the alignment of tracks such as Overhead High Voltage Electrical transmission cables and other such public utilities were shifted on fast track basis with the coordination of local & State authorities.
● Extended Monsoon
▪ The heavy monsoons in the year 2020 delayed the execution of the project. The monsoons also extended till October.
▪ The region recorded rainfall between 600 mm to 835 mm
▪ Due to heavy rains more than 29,500 precious Man days were lost in June to November 2020
▪ Working days lost due to heavy rains: Approx. 40 Days when no work could be done in field.
These were indeed most challenging times with the threat of COVID -19 pandemic all around us. Despite of these hurdles, our people worked bravely and sincerely continuing the infrastructural work and development works relentlessly. The workforce consisting of our engineers as well as contractors was motivated to resume work by following all the stipulated protocols of COVID – 19 with an aim to complete the project within the set deadline.
In addition to indomitable spirit, innovative technologies were adopted to overcome the limitations of time & to obviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby, exemplifying the triumph of dedication, determination and resilience.
CONNECTING INDIA, UNITING INDIA
The details of trains connecting Kevadiya to Eastern, Western, Northern, Central & Southern parts of India are:
1 09103/04 Kevadiya Varanasi Mahamana Express (Weekly)
2 02927/28 Dadar Kevadiya Dadar-Kevadiya Express (Daily)
3 09247/48 Ahmedabad Kevadiya Janshatabdi Express (Daily)
4 09145/46 Kevadiya H. Nizamuddin Nizamuddin – Kevadiya Sampark Kranti Express (Bi-Weekly)
5 09105/06 Kevadiya Rewa Kevadiya – Rewa Express (Weekly)
6 09119/20 Chennai Kevadiya Chennai – Kevadiya Express (Weekly)
7 09107/08 Pratapnagar Kevadiya MEMU train (Daily)
8 09110/09 Kevadiya Pratapnagar MEMU train (Daily)
• In addition to the above 8 trains which are being flagged off, the following trains will also commence their services:
9 09249/50 Ahmedabad Kevadiya Janshatabdi Express (Daily)
10 09113/14 Pratapnagar Kevadiya MEMU train (Daily)
● Express trains are being run with LHB coaches. Janshatabdi Express has been provided with latest “Vista-dome tourist coach”, which is first time on Indian Railways. This coach will provide a panoramic view of the skyline.
● IRCTC has also doled out a basket of economical tour packages to cater tourists to the Statue of Unity as well as to experience the wonders of vibrant Gujarat.
● Also, a Budget Hotel with a capacity of 500 rooms is being constructed by IRCTC near Kevadiya station for the convenience of tourists.
The gigantic Statue of Unity standing tall at a towering height of 182 meters warmly opened its doors to the public on 31st October, 2018 on the occasion of the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. This unique idea is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the Iron Man & the architect of the united India. The inspiring leader, Sardar Patel stood tall & integrated the princely states into the Indian union laying the foundation of a strong and prosperous India.
As an ode to this great figure, the Indian Railways has succeeded to bring every Indian closer to this great son of Mother India. Now, with the commissioning of the Dabhoi – Chandod – Kevadiya rail line as well as inauguration of Kevadiya railway station, it will be easy for people from all across the country to visit this iconic Statue of Unity, many pilgrim sites in this region as well as places of tourist interest in the vicinity of Statue of Unity, including Jungle Safari Park, Ekta Mall, Children’s Nutrition Park and Arogya Forest and many more such places of attraction. It is worth mentioning that in comparison to the existing road transport between Kevadiya & Pratapnagar (Vadodara), the rail transport will be more time saving & comparatively economical in terms of fare.