On one of the platforms of Vadnagar Railway station in Gujarat is that tea stall where prime minister Narendra Modi once sold tea. Long before setting out on his political career.
Converting the stall into a tourist spot is part of a larger project of putting Modi's birthplace Vadnagar in Mehsana district of Gujarat on the world tourism map.
Officials of the ministry of culture and tourism and archaeological survey of India (ASI) visited the town recently. The team of officials was led by Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma, who later announced that the original charm of the tea stall will be preserved while giving it a modern touch.
"Apart from being the birthplace of our PM, Vadnagar is an important historical center having famous Sharmishta Lake and a step-well. ASI had recently found remains of a Buddhist monastery during excavation, which is still going on," Sharma told reporters at Gandhinagar. Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi had often mentioned that he used to sell tea during his childhood at the Vadnagar railway station along with his father.
"Inside the Vadnagar railway station, there is a small tea stall, from where our PM had probably started his life's journey. We also want to develop that tea stall as a tourism spot. We will try to preserve the original charm of the tea stall while giving it a modern touch. Our aim is to put Vadnagar on world tourism map," Sharma said.
Earlier, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Ahmedabad division Dinesh Kumar had said the entire project of developing Vadnagar and adjoining places in Mehsana district would cost over Rs 100 crore. "The development of Vadnagar railway station is one of the components of the Rs 100 crore project to develop Vadnagar, Modhera and Patan as tourist destinations. As of now, the Ministry of Tourism has given Rs eight crore to the state Tourism Department to develop the railway station," Kumar had said.