Kevadiya, a small town with a population of 6,788 people and just 3.5 km from the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, is all set to get its own railway station, sources involved in the planning told mews agency PTI.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are slated to lay the foundation stone for the same on December 15, they said.
The Statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is located in Gujarat’s Narmada district and to reach it, one has to reach Kevadiya first.
“During the first 11 days of its opening, the monument has already been visited by around 1.3 lakh tourists. This is great news for tourism in the state. However, this area is plagued by connectivity issues and we needed to address that. This will be a modern railway station and will see huge footfall. Other than a boost in tourism, the project will lead to development in the area, create employment among other things,” a source said.
Currently, there is no direct air or train connectivity to Kevadiya. The nearest stations to Kevadiya are Vadodara (71.94 km), Bharuch (75.36 km) and Ankleshwar (77.95 km). A smaller station, Miyagam Karjan is 63.02 km from the town.
By air, one has to take a flight to Surat. Kevadiya is 83 km from Surat. From the Ahmedabad airport, the Statue of Unity is almost 200 km away.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Governor Om Prakash Kohli will also be present at the foundation stone laying function, the source added.
The statue is being touted as the latest in Gujarat’s list of tourist attractions and the government is keen to ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensure a regular tourist inflow, the sources said.
In fact, the Gujarat government has written to the chief ministers of all states to consider setting up guest houses near the Statue of Unity and a few states have already shown interest, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Gujarat’s minister for Education, Law, Justice and Civil Aviation said in Kolkata on yesterday.
The Gujarat government built the 180-feet statue of Sardar Patel at a cost of around Rs. 3,000 crore.
On an average, 15,000 visitors visit the statue every day, according to the state government.