Railway stations will soon go the airport way with ban on entry of visitors after a particular point.
Railway stations may not be a thoroughfare any more as the Rail Bhawan plans to allow only passengers with valid tickets to access platforms. Railway Minister Laloo Prasad's announcement after serial blasts in Mumbai local trains to restrict entry of people coming to see off their near and dear ones may find a place in this year's Railway Budget.
"As in the case of airports across the country, there will be a safety zone on the platform beyond which the visitors, including family and friends of the passengers, will not be allowed," a Rail Bhawan source said. An announcement to this effect is expected in the railway budget.
The move is also a part of the Railway's modernisation plan for select cities. The plan would first be implemented in New Delhi and later extended to all the stations selected for conversion into world-class stations, including Patna.
"People who accompany passengers will not be permitted to enter beyond a point at the stations. There would be a waiting lounge at every station for the purpose," the official said.
"This would help decongest the railway stations and unnecessary crowding of platforms both during arrival and departure of trains," said the Railway official.
The Railways are also mulling over the idea to introduce some identity proof of passengers with a view to check ticketless travelling, which is eating a considerable amount of Railways profit.
Taking a cue from the European Railways, there is also a proposal to provide the ticket checkers with hand helds in place of the ubiquitous registers.
"This will bring about a transparency in the seat allocation process for the waitlisted train passengers," said the Rail Bhawan sources.
The handheld devices would have all the details of travellers and would remain connected to the railways reservation database, the PRS, through a wireless service provider's broadband network.
Email Vijay Swaroop: vswaroop @hindustantimes.com