President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife boarded a special train at New Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station to travel to the former’s native Paraunkh village in Kanpur. It is the first such journey by the head of the state in 15 years.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said Kovind decided to travel by train in line with the tradition of his predecessors, who undertook rail journeys to connect with the people. Kovind is expected to attend functions and meet his family and friends during his four-day visit to Kanpur and Kanpur Dehat, his native district.
This is Kovind’s first visit to his birthplace since he took office in 2017. “Though he desired to visit the place earlier, plans could not materialise because of the pandemic,” the statement said.
In 2006, A P J Abdul Kalam last travelled on a special train as the president from Delhi to Dehradun to attend the parade of cadets at the Indian Military Academy.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s chief public relations officer Deepak Kumar said Kovind’s journey will be a great morale booster for the railwaymen, who have diligently given their services throughout the difficult pandemic times. “This will also help to encourage and build confidence among the people to use the trains to travel for business, tourism and other purposes…”
Officials said Kovind is being provided with a four-tier security cover of 100 snipers and 80 special commandos. Police personnel, Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police of 10 districts will also be deployed for security along the route to the village. Officials said drone cameras have been installed across vital junctions for security purposes along the route. On June 28, Kovind will take the train from Kanpur central railway station to travel to Lucknow for a two-day visit. The next day, he will fly back to Delhi.