Global bids aimed at raising Rs 15,000 crore for turning New Delhi’s main railway station and three others into world-class stations will likely be floated in the coming financial year, one of several announcements made in the Railway Budget 2008-09.
The other three stations are Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Patna and Secunderabad.
The New Delhi railway station will be turned world-class at Rs 5,000 crore under a part-public, part-private programme.
That’s not all. Delhi residents and those in the National Capital Region (NCR) can expect a complete makeover of railway stations and efficient services at platforms and on trains as the Budget allocated Rs 100 crore to various railway projects in the Capital and NCR.
Apart from cornering four of the 10 newly-launched, air-conditioned, inexpensive and super-fast ‘Garib Raths’ and 11 new mail/express trains — the highest for any city —Delhi, with its three A-category stations and Anand Vihar joining it by the end of this year, is set to reap maximum benefit from the infrastructure and passenger-amenity development proposed in the Budget.
Parking problems, for instance, will soon be a thing of the past as Railways Minister Lalu Prasad announced multi-level parking lots at 30 major stations across the country, including New Delhi, Old Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin. “These will come up at major stations wherever there is increased rush of vehicles,” he said.
At present, private contractors run surface parking lots at these stations.
A sum of Rs 7.4 crore has been sanctioned for ongoing development work at the New Delhi station. The new Anand Vihar Mega Terminal in East Delhi also got a generous Rs 33.12 crore.
Better access, shorter queues
Fifty A-category stations, including the three in Delhi, will boast of “state-of-the-art” escalators and elevators. Currently, New Delhi has escalators at both the Paharganj and Ajmeri Gate entrances.
You can also expect shorter queues at ticket and enquiry counters at all A-category stations; B-category stations like Delhi Sarai Rohilla will have automated display boards with online information regarding arrival and departure of trains, passenger status, availability of reservations, etc.
“High-quality LED boards and touch-screens will be installed at all A- and B-category stations,” Lalu said.
In fact, queues at counters may vanish completely in two years as the Budget proposes installing automated ticket-vending machines across cities like Delhi. Other than these, there will also be shorter queues of trains for arrival and departure with the Budget earmarking Rs 60 crore for doubling the single lines in and around Delhi in the next financial year.
More safe, More Secure
To reduce accidents at unmanned level crossings during foggy conditions in winter, the railways will deploy engines equipped with anti-fog devices in areas like Delhi. Sensitive stations like Delhi will also have multiple layers of security checks. As a “comprehensive security plan” more CCTVs, metal detectors and scanning of baggage would be a norm, Lalu said in the Budget.
Add to that, the wait to take a train from Delhi to go all the way to the Kashmir Valley will also be over soon. The Budget promised that the remaining portion of the rail line to the Valley—Northern Railway’s most ambitious project—would be opened by the end of 2008-09.