With ‘Vande Bharat’ trains running at almost full capacity on 10 routes, 60 parliamentarians, including 14 MPs from non-NDA parties, have petitioned the railways to begin the operation of the state-of-the-art trains connecting their constituencies. While most of the petitions have come from BJP MPs, including senior leader Devendra Fadnavis who has asked for a train between Solapur and Mumbai. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has requested for a Vande Bharat train from Dharwad to Bangaluru and Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia for a train to Gwalior.
Out of the 10 Vande Bharat trains currently in operation, the Bilaspur-Nagpur Vande Bharat Express had the lowest occupancy till January this fiscal, while the Mumbai-Gandhinagar route recorded the highest, official data showed.
The Bilaspur-Nagpur Vande Bharat Express had a 55 per cent occupancy rate, while the train running between Mumbai and Gandhinagar recorded 126 per cent occupancy rate, the data showed.
Among the opposition parties, one MP each from the NCP, DMK, SP, AAP and the JD(U) have demanded such trains for their constituencies, while three Congress MPs, two each from the CPI(M) and YSRCP have demanded the same.
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Other party MPs — one each from the Apna Dal and the Shiv Sena have also asked for the indigenous trains. The Vande Bharat Express train offers better ride for passengers. The train has automatic plug doors, touch-free sliding doors, revolving seats in executive class, 32 inches passenger information and infotainment system in every coach, among others. Apart from this, the train has many security features as well like the introduction of KAVACH, CCTVs, and better fire safety measures. It takes just 129 seconds to reach the speed of 160 km/hour with these trains.