With union railway minister Suresh Prabhu in his maiden budget refraining from announcing new trains or new projects, the city residents were left disappointed. However, focus on strengthening infrastructure provided some solace to the people.
Putting thrust on safety, the minister allocated Rs 6 crore for having subways at level crossing on Chandigarh-Morinda railway line. The minister, however, did not mention any time frame for the same.
The budget, however, makes no mention of several projects announced in the past which include transforming the station into a world class one, a skill development centre for the youth, and multi-modal services.
The minister announced some facilities which would benefit the railway passengers everywhere. These included Wi-Fi services, mobile-based wake-up call and updates for passengers, revamping of the reservation system, ticket booking through mobile phones and post offices, RO drinking water units at stations and in trains, bio-toilets in trains, onboard house-keeping, CCTV cameras for safety are a welcome move.
World class railway station still a distant dream
Chandigarh railway station has been awaiting upgradation to become a world class station since 2008 but the work on the ground is moving at a snail's pace. With the upgradation, the station was to have facilities like hotel, shopping mall and food court, plus mechanised parcel handling and additional facilities for the disabled. According to the plan, the main building and circulating area would be converted into a multi-storeyed complex with different floors for different services. For instance, there would be a bank, food beverage and ticket counters on the ground floor; a food court, cloak rooms and shops on the second and VIP waiting lounge and ladies waiting rooms on the third.
By starting automatic stairs facility (escalators) at Chandigarh railway station, the authorities moved a step closer to upgradation of the railway station. The escalators at the Chandigarh railway station connect platform number 2 and 3 from outside. This has decreased the rush on platform number 1 as earlier all passengers had to go to platform number 1 to cross the overbridge for going to platform number 2, 3 or 4.