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Railway minister could not participate in Tejas Exp flag off due to delay in another event in central Gujarat: Railway spokesperson

Ahmedabad: Amid speculations about non-participation of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in the flagging off ceremony of the second premium Tejas Express train in the country to run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai despite his presence in Gujarat today, Railway has clarified that he could not participate in the event due to ‘delay in his another event at Kevadiya of central Gujarat.

Spokesperson of the Western Railway Pradip Sharma said that Goyal had arrived here in the 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 took off late and he got delayed. 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,’ Sharma said.

Sharma admitted that according to earlier schedule Goyal was to jointly flag off the train with the CM.

But the minister could not join the event due to delay.

He also rejected the speculations that the railway minister’s avoiding the event in the wake of the protests by Western Railways Employees Union.

Sharma said that it was not correct to say that this 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.

Notably, Regular run of the IRCTC operated train would be from January 19. It will run on six days of a week barring Thurdays and halt at Nadiad, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi and Borivalli stations en route.

Interestingly, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal who was present in the city today and was to participate in the flagging off event of the train, 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 the local railway station along with Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabh Patel.

Meanwhile, the Western Railway Employees Union staged protests against the privately run train and privatization attempts of railway, one of the largest government secretary employer, at Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Over 40 of its members were detained by the police.

Notably, the train will leave from Ahmedbad at 0640 hrs to reach Mumbai central at 1355 and in return jorney leave Mumbai at 1540 hrs in the afternoon to reach Ahmedabad at 2155 hrs in the night. It has 8 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.