Grand announcements have not translated into action on the ground level

When the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in Railway Budget for 2009-10 that Mangalore Central Station would become a world class station, hopes were high.

But more than three years later, there is hardly anything on the ground, though Palakkad Division of Southern Railway does maintain that the project is still alive.

The division has sent an inception report to the Southern Railway headquarters in Chennai.

All that the inception report contains, according to official sources, is that the station can have shopping complexes, second entry point, and a few works can be taken up related to platforms.

The Railway sources agree that the second entry point (from Attavar side) has already been planned and is set to be implemented whether the station attains world class status or not.

Second, the then Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa said that the railways would make it world class if the State government gave it five acres of land. But till today, the railways has not made any request in this regard to the State government. Mr. Muniyappa had on the other hand had favoured developing Mangalore Junction station into a world class station. Some of the railway officials themselves think that the announcements of world class station — the number of stations identified being over 50 — are more a political statements than a result of carefully evaluated proposals. They point out that barring Chennai, there is no news of upgrading stations such as Ernakulam, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram.

Though the announcement about Mangalore came in early 2009, the details provided by Press Information Bureau’s Economic Editors’ Conference 2010 indicative of the fact that Mangalore is not in the immediate radar under the scheme: “A view has been taken to focus more on greenfield stations such as Anand Vihar, Chennai, Chandigarh, Bypannahalli, Majerhat, Habibganj, Kolkata, and Bijwasan,” it said.

That developing a world class station is a huge project and the kind of preparation needed is conspicuously absent in Mangalore is clear from the fact that one of the two volumes on manual for standards, available online, runs into 288 pages.

Best facilities

Superior services to passengers such as slip-resistant surfaces

Efficient movement of commuters

Superior train operations and maintenance facilities

Smoother and safe road traffic flow to and from the station

Adequate parking within the station premises

Sustainable design principles including rainwater harvesting

Maximum use of natural light and ventilation, minimise energy consumption

Open, spacious aesthetic appeal suiting city’s architectural heritage

(Source: Indian Railways’ volume 1 of the manual for standards for world class stations)