Habibganj railway station in Bhopal will be redeveloped into a world-class railway station with Wi-Fi connection, underground parking space, escalators and airport-like VIP lounge, railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced in his budget on Thursday.
In 2011, the railway station was developed as the best station in the country with over Rs 50-crore expenditure. It has six platforms and is the first station in India with a Braille time table.
Habibganj is the only railway station of Madhya Pradesh and the Jabalpur-headquartered West Central Railways to be selected for development as world-class station.
It has special parking, ramps, toilets, accessible water facilities and a graded pathway on the platform for the visually impaired.
Prabhu said Rs 600 crore will be invested to redevelop the station in 74 acres. Contract for the project has been finalised, he said.
Once developed, the station will have facilities like Wi-Fi, underground parking to accommodate 600 vehicles at a time, conference hall, broader bridges, retail shops, museum-art gallery and restaurant and entertainment centre.
Underground exit points and surface entry points and entry into station only on presentation of metallic tokens just like metro railway stations are also in the offing.
People in Bhopal welcomed the announcement but with a rider.
Varalika Singh, an architect, said: “This railway station is far better than others in nearby districts. If amenities like Wi-fi, VIP lounge and underground parking work well, then this railway station would not be less than an airport.”
“Choosing Habibganj railway station is not a big deal, but real work has to be done here. Facilities and cleanliness should be up to the mark,” said Lokesh Jhabak, a student.