PM Modi slated to flag off Howrah-NJP Vande Bharat Express on Dec 30

West Bengal is likely to receive a New Year gift in the form of a Vande Bharat Express, the first one in eastern India, on December 30. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to flag off this train from Howrah to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in north Bengal on that day. Modi is also likely to inaugurate the Joka-Taratala stretch of the Joka-BBD Bag Metro corridor virtually from Howrah station.

According to a highly placed source, the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express will depart Howrah early in the morning and reach NJP in the afternoon. It will then return to Howrah in the late evening. There is already a Shatabdi Express between Howrah and NJP.

This train leaves Howrah in the afternoon and reaches NJP at around 10 p.m. The Vande Bharat Express will certainly attract tourists travelling to the Hills in north Bengal and the Dooars as well as the state of Sikkim.

Particularly, those who do not wish to spend a night at Siliguri before travelling to their destinations.

The Prime Minister has already invited the chief ministers of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal for a meeting on the Namani Gange Project on that day.

This meeting will be convened at INS Netaji Subhas, the Indian Navy’s headquarters in Kolkata.

INS Netaji Subhas is located on the banks of the Hooghly, the only tributary of the River Ganges that meets the sea (at Sagar) in India. West Bengal chief minister has already confirmed that she would attend the meeting.

According to the source, projects worth several hundreds of crores for upgradation of facilities along the Ganges, Bhagirathi and Hooghly will be discussed during the meeting.

This will include clean-up of the river, its banks, dredging, afforestation and restoration of ghats.

Several stakeholders like the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata.

The Ganges-Bhagirathi-Hooghly channel is India’s National Waterway-I and the government is keen to improve its navigability.

“After the meeting at INS Netaji Subhas, the PM is likely to board a Fast Interceptor Craft of the Indian Navy at the Man of War Jetty in Kolkata and cross River Hooghly to the Howrah side. From one of the jetties there, he will travel by road to Howrah station to flag off the Vande Bharat Express and inaugurate the Joka-Taratala Metro. He may address a public gathering there,” the source added.

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