Railway Budget to lay stress on station revamp

Railway Budget to lay stress on station revamp

High class stations with increased amenities in the offing

The ensuing railway budget may renew its emphasis on development of modern stations.

The concept is to increase amenities at all stations and develop some stations to the level that they should rival airports.

 After conducting preliminary studies and consultations with zonal railways, five stations—Bijwasan (Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal), Anand Vihar (Delhi), Chandigarh and Shivaji Nagar (Pune), have been identified for implementation through the Indian Rail Station Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) in the first phase.  

These stations have been identified keeping in mind the availability of space and other geographical factors which should make it convenient to make these locations important tourist destinations for the respective cities. 

Stations in metro cities Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore may be be included in the next phase.

The railways last year floated the IRSDC, a public sector corporation under Special Purpose Vehicle with the partnership of  Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) International and the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA).

The IRCON has been a reputed construction major in railways and the RLDA looks after lands owned by railways.

The IRSDC has already floated tenders for four of these stations. Tenders are to be finalised shortly.

According to the plan, the stations will have well-designed concourses, high quality waiting spaces, easy access to platforms, congestion-free platforms, state-of-the-art catering facilities, hotels and other amenities.

They would be friendly to physically challenged and would have provision for easy entry, inter-platform transfer and  problem-free access to all facilities for physically-challenged people and senior citizens. To make these stations free from congestion, arrival and departure will be segregated as in airports. Roof plaza and green environment are the other things which would be part of these new-look stations. The initiative to make modern stations would have high order of hygiene and cleanliness as their part.

The idea of developing 50 stations as World Class Stations was mooted by Mamata Banerjee in the 2009-10 Budget. The list included almost all major tourist destinations in the country with significant influx of passengers. The idea was to rope in private investors. It could not take off.

The ministry, however, is still continuing with the idea and a Belgian consultancy has been hired to benchmark the requirements for such stations. It has started working on stations including Mangalore in Karnataka.

To cater to the needs of passengers who can afford, an executive  lounge, providing modern amenities for in-transit and waiting passengers has been opened at New Delhi railway station by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.

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