By Nishant Ketu
New Delhi [India], July 25 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Devi Kovind are traveling in a special train from Delhi to his native Paraunkh village in Uttar Pradesh' Kanpur. It is the first rail journey by an incumbent president in 15 years.
General Manager of Northern Railway, Ashutosh Gangal said that it is a matter of great pride for Railways that a President is traveling by train.
"His journey is from Delhi to Lucknow via Kanpur. They have stoppages at Jhinjhak and Rura stations. We are running a special train keeping in mind their safety and comfort. First, this train will go to Kanpur and after a two-day stay in Kanpur, the train will go to Lucknow," Gangal told ANI.
The President and his wife boarded the train at New Delhi's Safdarjung railway station. The Northern Railway General Manager said that the Railways had made special arrangements for President's journey.
"Special care has been taken for safety during the journey. We are following all the instructions given in this rule book for safety and security. Apart from this, the staff is appointed to monitor the tracks and level crossings. There are some sensitive spots, where there is a population of people. We have increased the surveillance there," the General Manager added.
Gangal said that special arrangements have also been made inside the coach so that the President can handle his official work, and a part of a coach has been converted into an office for the President.
"WiFi and other facilities are available in the train for President's convenience. There is an office room and there is a communication protocol which has to be followed," he added.
Notably, it was in the year 2006 when late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had last traveled from Delhi to Dehradun by train. At that time, the special Presidential saloon was run by the Railways for the President's visit, which was constructed in 1956.
But, on August 30, 2019, the operation of this saloon was stopped under the order of the President. Along with this, the President also directed the Railway Ministry not to construct new saloons, citing an increased burden on the general public.
According to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, this is the first visit by Kovind to his birthplace after becoming the president.
On June 28, the President will board the train at Kanpur Central railway station to reach Lucknow for his two-day visit to the state capital. On June 29, he will return to New Delhi on a special flight. (ANI)