Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal at an event in Ahmedabad on Friday. (Source: PTI)
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in Kevadia colony on Saturday, said that it would grow into a Rs 1 lakh-crore economy due to its potential for tourism.
Goyal was assessing the ongoing project of connecting Kevadia colony to the main railway line at Dabhoi. He met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to discuss the development of Railways in the state and urged land owners on the Dabhoi-Kevadia route to part with their lands and allow for the development to continue in full swing.
Flanked by state Energy Minister Saurabh Patel, Goyal said, "I am requesting land owners with folded hands to allow us to acquire the lands so that the work on the railway line connecting Kevadia to Chandod and Dabhoi, and thereafter to the mainline in Vadodara, can be completed. It will pave way for tourists from across the country to visit Kevadia and change the fortune of this place."
Goyal expressed confidence that the Railway Ministry will be able to acquire the land for the project by March and that work on the entire stretch will be completed soon.
"The potential that Kevadia holds as a tourist destination is immense. It has world class facilities which many other sites across the globe haven't been able to provide. I am told that as many has 35,000 tourists have visited the Statue of Unity on a single day during festivals and holidays, since its inauguration just over a year ago. I am sure once the connectivity with the Railways is complete, this figure will go up to one lakh per day," Goyal added.
“If I can make a small prediction, Kevadia will generate a revenue from tourism such that it will become a one lakh-crore economy place. It was the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create the statue to pay a tribute to the Iron Man of India. The place gives anyone visiting here an inspiration and makes the younger generation aware about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” he said.
Goyal also discussed possible expediting of railway projects in the state, mainly centred on the Statue of Unity connectivity, with Rupani. A government release stated that Rupani apprised Goyal about the land acquisition for the Dabhoi-Kevadia route, as well as the ongoing work on the Kevadia Railway station.
The CM is also said to have informed Goyal about the progress of work on the conversion of the narrow gauge to broad gauge on this route, as well as on the work order issued for the Katosan Road-Becharaji railway line by the Gujarat Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation, for Rs 266 crore.