Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday expressed disappointment over Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's statement that permitting Vande Bharat trains to Kerala was not under the consideration of the Central government at the moment, terming it unfortunate. He also asked the Centre to reconsider its stand immediately.
The reply given by the Union minister in the Parliament in this regard is yet another red flag for Kerala's railway development dreams, said Vijayan.
"It was in the first week of February, 2023, that the Railway Minister repeatedly stated the Vande Bharat Express will reach Kerala soon. It is a mystery as to why the Railways has suddenly backed away from its promise. This can only be seen as the latest in a series of attempts to make the state irrelevant in the railway map of India," he opined.
Taking a jab at the UDF and BJP over their silence regarding the minister's statement, Vijayan said: "The UDF and BJP tried to sabotage the K-Rail project by endorsing Vande Bharat. But, nobody's to be seen anywhere now. Their silence when the state is being denied the development it deserves is criminal."
He then pointed out that the lack of proper travel facilities was one of the major problems the state is facing today.
"It takes 12 to 13 hours to cover about 620 km. As a result, the people end up suffering and many developmental projects of the state are being hampered. Rail development is essential to overcome this situation.
The state government is taking a committed intervention in this regard. Any action that subverts it can only be seen as an anti-people policy. Therefore, the Centre should urgently reconsider its stand on the Vande Bharat issue," demanded Vijayan.