China to rebuild two of India's railway stations
India will utilise Chinese expertise to reconstruct Bhubaneswar and Bangalore railway stations to world class level. Recently a railway team from China had visited India and had gone to these two stations to have a first-hand knowledge.
The Chinese team will soon submit a report suggesting the ways to go about the proposal. Based on their suggestions, railways would decide the future course of action.
Besides China, railways have also sought the expertise of German Railway for developing Chandigarh and Jaipur stations.
"We have sought to use the expertise of Chinese railway and German railway with whom we have MoUs to develop four stations," K C Jena, Chairman Railway Board, told PTI.
Germany railway team had also come to India as part of the MoU and visited these stations.
"They will suggest us the ways after doing a complete study of these stations," said Jena.
Railways have identified 24 stations at metropolitan cities and major tourist centres across the country for development as world class station through public private partnership.
About the possible shape and expectations from the world class stations, Jena said, "besides modern infrastructure, the latest in passenger amenities, the facilities of shopping and restaurants and excellent ambiance would give a pleasant feeling to the public".
Besides these four stations, railways have carried out a lot of preparatory work for developing stations at New Delhi, Patna, Mumbai and Secunderabad to world class level.
Indian Railway has carried over 6,600 million passengers in 2007-08 and the target for 2008-09 is over 7,000 million which is among the highest in the world for rail travel. The passenger figures are likely to be about 8,400 million by the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan.
According to a senior railway ministry official, there is a greater need for developing some of the major stations as world class. Most of the stations were built over 100 years ago and are now experiencing infrastructural inadequacies to handle the ever increasing passenger number.
"So we have to redevelop major railway stations into world class stations, benchmarked with the world's best stations. These projects are to be executed with public private partnership by leveraging the real estate development potential in the air space above the station and on railway land around the station."
He further said "Key objective of these projects is to provide superior services to railway passengers at the stations by converting them into urban icons and standard-bearers of the cities."