Lounge hopes of three Delhi stations dashed
Delhi's hopes for getting three executive lounges - on the lines of one that has been developed at the New Delhi station - were dashed on Tuesday.
Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, in his budget speech, announced a list of seven stations where he proposed to develop executive lounges. None of them are in Delhi.
During the recent inauguration of the executive lounge at New Delhi railway station, top railway officials had promised that the facility would also be developed at three other stations in the Capital - Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar.
However, railway officials said there is nothing to lose heart.
"The railways had last year released a list of 50 stations where executive lounges had to come up. Our Delhi stations figured on the list. This (the one referred to by the minister) may be a shorter list for projects on priority. Exclusion of Delhi stations doesn't mean our projects have been shelved. Even otherwise, we don't necessarily need budgetary allocations for such project. We can sign a contract with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and begin work," said a senior northern railway official.
The minister said following popularity of the executive lounge at New Delhi, the facility would be set up at Bilaspur, Vishakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru.
Rakesh Tandon, IRCTC's managing director, had recently said, "Many more lounges, including three in Delhi, have been committed. I am hopeful that we will get the permission from the higher authorities soon. Work is likely to start in the year 2013-14."
Anurag Sachan, divisional railway manager (Delhi) of Northern Railway, said, "We will do whatever is required. Maybe it's (the lounge) not feasible at Anand Vihar. But we can always build the facility at Old Delhi and Nizamuddin."