Kerala's first Garib Rath flagged off

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 1 (UNI) The first Garib Rath bi-weekly express from Kochu Veli to Lokmanya Tilak Terminal at Kurla was flagged off here today.

Union State Minister for Railways R Velu flagged off the first train from Thiruvananthapuram Central Station.

Mr Velu said the Centre had implemented most of the proposals in the last Railway budget.

''Pay less and travel in time in AC for poor. We mean to do something for the poor. And the Garib Rath with the most advanced technology is here,'' he said.

The Minister said the coming Railway Budget would be people friendly. ''We will have a budget without tears and convenience'', he said.

On the high-speed corridors for bullet trains, Mr Velu said it was not India's priority. We have about 250 projects in hand for connecting people from far-flung parts of the country, he added.

Pointing out that high-speed corridors were expensive, he said it would be possible only with dedicated and elevated high-speed corridors. Some States had supported it and a feasibility study was undertaken on the issue, he said.

When asked about reports of bifurcation of Thiruvananthapuram Division, Mr Velu said the railways had certain parameters before taking into account any bifurcation issue. Every aspect would be looked into before bifurcating a division, he added.

Kerala Law Minister, who is also in-charge of Railways, M Vijayakumar, was among others, present on the occasion.

The regular service of the Garib Rath would commence from February 4 from Lokmanya Tilak and from Kochuveli on February 7.

The Garib Rath, having 14 coaches, including three AC Chair Cars and 11 III AC coaches, would depart from Kochu Veli on Thursdays and Sundays at 0850 hrs and on Fridays and Mondays, it would depart from Lokmanya Tilak at 1630 hrs.

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