New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off eight trains connecting different regions of the country with Kevadiya, home to the Statue of Unity dedicated to Vallabhbhai Patel, in Gujarat on Sunday via video-conferencing.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal were also present on the occasion. Modi said on Saturday that the Kevadiya railway station is India's first with green building certification.

In a tribute to Bharat Ratna MGR earlier, Modi said, "he lives in the hearts of several people. Be it the world of films or politics, he was widely respected. During his CM tenures, he initiated numerous efforts towards poverty alleviation and also emphasised on women empowerment".

"This connectivity will be beneficial for tourists coming to see the Statue of Unity but it will also help in changing the lives of the tribal community of Kevadiya. It will bring new opportunities for job and self-employment," added Modi.

The trains flagged off include 09103/04 Kevadiya-Varanasi Mahamana Express (Weekly), 02927/28 Dadar-Kevadiya Express (Daily), 09247/48 Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Janshatabdi Express (Daily), 09145/46 Nizamuddin - Kevadia Sampark Kranti Express (Bi-Weekly), 09105/06 Kevadia - Rewa Express (Weekly), 09119/20 Chennai - Kevadia Express (Weekly), 09107/08 Pratapnagar-Kevadia MEMU train (Daily) and 09109/10 Kevadiya-Pratapnagar MEMU train (Daily).

According to the Railway Ministry, the Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Jan Shatabdi Express has been provided with the new-age "Vista-dome tourist coach" which will offer a panoramic view of the skyline.

During the programme, several other projects relating to the railways were also inaugurated and these include new station buildings of Kevadiya, Dabhoi and Chandod.

Situated near Kevadiya in Gujarat's Narmada district, the 'Statue of Unity' is the world's tallest statue and monumental tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first home minister as well as deputy prime minister.

The statue was inaugurated in October 2018 by Prime Minister Modi on the occasion of Patel's 143rd birth anniversary.