By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 21, 2023: President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday flagged off three trains including two express trains in Odisha’s tribal belt of Badampahar and Rairangpur, the first set of long-distance passenger trains to operate in the section in 112 years.

President Murmu, who was at Badampahar railway station, flagged off the Badampahar – Tatanagar (Jharkhand) MEMU (08147); Badampahar – Rourkela Weekly Express (18051) and Badampahar- Shalimar Weekly Express (18049) from Badampahar.

President Murmu also undertook an inaugural trip on one train to Rairangpur town close to her birthplace.
Railway officials said Badampahar railway station, from where President Murmu flagged off three trains, was earlier only served by MEMU trains.

“This is the first time that express trains connecting the Badampahar and Rairangpur region to Rourkela and Kolkata have been inaugurated,” a railways official said. An express train is one where the average speed, excluding halts, is more than 36 km per hour and runs for long distances.

In her speech, President Murmu praised the government for taking several steps for the development of tribal communities.

“These trains are aimed to help locals in travelling to neighbouring states such as Jharkhand and West Bengal. People will also not face any inconvenience in visiting Odisha’s industrial town Rourkela,” she said.

According to the railways, the Shalimar-Badampahar Weekly Express will be the first-ever express train connecting Shalimar near Kolkata in West Bengal with Badampahar in Odisha. The second weekly express train will connect the mineral-rich areas of Badampahar with Rourkela, known as the steel city of India while the third — Tatanagar-Badampahar MEMU — will will run six days a week except on Sunday. This will be an additional service between Badampahar and Tatanagar, an important industrial city of Jharkhand, the railways said.

Murmu said: “There is almost three times increase in the current budget compared to the budget for the Financial Year 2013-14… Inclusive development is incomplete without the development of tribal people. That is why the government is giving priority to the development of tribal communities.”

She also urged tribal youth to take advantage of the government’s schemes.

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