Ahmedabad, Jan 17 : Amid protests by the Western Railway Employees Union against the "privatization", Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday flagged off the second premium Tejas Express train in the country, which will be run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Regular run of the IRCTC operated train would start from January 19.
It will operate for six days a week barring Thursdays and halt at Nadiad, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi and Borivalli stations enroute. Interestingly, Railway Minister Piyush Goel, who was in the city and had to participate in the flagging off ceremony, did not turn up there and went to visit the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in central Gujarat where he inspected the construction work of local railway station.
Giving the reason of his absence, the Western Railway said that he could not participate in the event as his another event got delayed due to bad weather at Kevadiya of central Gujarat. Spokesperson of the Western Railway Pradip Sharma said that Mr Goyal had arrived here late night yesterday and after inspecting the progress of railway station construction work in capital Gandhinagar in the wee hours, he was to leave for Kevadiya for inspection of the construction work of the Asia's first green railway station there. But due to foggy weather in Kevadiya, his chopper could not fly in time.
"He himself intimated that CM Vijay Rupani should flag off the train alone as he did not want to delay its inaugural run. He later returned from Kevadiya by the chopper and also had a meeting with the CM in Gandhinagar," Mr Sharma added.
He also rejected the speculations that the Railway Minister skipped the event in the wake of the protests by Western Railways Employees Union. Sharma said that there was no truth in this theory as Tejas train was being run by a private party. "The train is a railway property and IRCTC that is operating it is also a corporation and not a private entity," he said.
Meanwhile, the Wester Railway Employees Union staged protests against the privately operated train and alleged privatization attempts of railway, one of the largest government secretary employer, here, along with Vadodara and Surat.
Over 40 of agitators were detained by the police. Notably, the train will leave from Ahmedbad at 0640 hrs to reach Mumbai central at 13:55hrs and in return journey, it leave Mumbai at 1540 hrs in the afternoon to reach Ahmedabad at 2155 hrs in the night. It will have eight AC Chair car coaches and one executive coach with total passenger capacity of 736. It will maintain an average speed of 160 kmph to cover the distance in around six hours. Railway board chairman V K Yadav was also present on the occasion. (UNI)