The first-ever Astha Tourist Pilgrimage Train of Indian Railway was flagged off from Kamakhya station this morning by Hon’ble Railway Minster of State Shri Rajen Gohain in the presence of Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble MLA Shri Ramendra Narayan Kalita, Hon’ble MLA Rangiya Shri Bhabesh Kalita, General Manager of N. F. Railway Shri Chahatey Ram, General Manager of N. F. Railway Construction Organization Shri H. K. Jaggi, Divisional Railway Manager of Lumding Division Shri Pramod Kumar Jain and host of other dignitaries. It was in fulfilment of the budget announcement made by the Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to connect important places of pilgrimage by train.
Addressing the gathering Shri Rajen Gohain said that the Astha Tourist Pilgrimage train is the first of its kind in the entire country and it has become a reality because of the guidance of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and initiatives of Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu. He requested the Chief Minister of Assam and his MLA colleagues to help in getting more patronization for the train. He called upon them to popularize the train among the pilgrims of the state who can avail the service to visit various places of pilgrimage at a very reasonable cost. Shri Gohain said, Railway is taking up various developmental projects on priority basis for the north-eastern region and very soon a Shatabdi Train will be started between Guwahati and Dibrugarh. He also said that the works for electrification of Railway Tracks in the State will be launched by the end of February. Shri Gohain also said that the problem of traffic snarls in the Guwahati city would be a thing of the past as a four-line elevated corridor between Kamakhya and New Guwahati has been sanctioned in the recently announced budget.
The Chief Minister Shri Sarbanada Sonowal thanked the Railway Minister of State for taking pro-active steps in fulfilling several long-standing demands of the people of the state. Shri Sonowal said that because of the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister, the state has seen introduction of as many as 25 new trains since the Prime Minister assumed office. He also called upon the people of the state to extend all co-operations in implementation of railway projects in the state so that all projects can be completed within the stipulated time.
The “Astha Circuit Tourist Train” flagged off today will take tourists to a mix of various popular religious destinations, covering Gangasagar, Sri Swamy Narayan Temple, Kalighat, Birla Temple, Sri Jagannath Temple, Konark Temple and Lingaraj Temple. The duration of the tour fromKamakhyaand back is six nights and seven days, at a very nominal cost of Rs 850.00 per person per day barring taxes. Per person cost for the entire trip is Rs 6,161.00 (all inclusive) including breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleeper class accommodation and visit to various temples through local transport. The train number 00561 will start from Kamakhyaon 17.02.2017 and would end atKamakhyaon 23.02.2017. All on train services will be managed by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Based on demand and patronization, further such pilgrim circuit trips would be taken up by N.F.Railway for the benefit of the common man.