Rs. 4,000 cr. to be spent to replace existing toilets in 36,000 coaches
R. Velu arrives
13.3 cr. in progress
VIJAYAWADA: Stating that the Vijayawada railway station would be soon made into ‘paradise’ for train commuters, Union Minister of State for Railways R. Velu on Sunday announced that the station got A-1 status with its revenue earnings crossing the Rs. 100-crore mark in the financial year ending this month. The Minister, who reached the city on Saturday on a two-day tour, addressed a press conference at the railway station here. He said that the Vijayawada station earned Rs. 96 crores by February end and the revenue earnings of the division would be another Rs. 8 crores in March. “If the revenue is above Rs. 50 crores a year, we will upgrade the station as ‘A1’ grade. The Vijayawada station got the A1 status, so that more funds will be allocated for its development,” he said adding plans were afoot to take up developmental works worth Rs. 8.6 crores soon. “So far, works worth Rs. 2.7 crores have already been completed and a few more works estimated to cost Rs. 13.3 crores are in progress. With the new allocation, the total worth of development works here would be nearly Rs. 25 crores,” he said. Mr. Velu said the issue of rescheduling the timings of the new train between Machilipatnam and Bangalore, slated to be launched soon, was pending with the Ministry. “The timings will be convenient to those who are working in Bangalore, as we are planning to ensure that the train reaches Bangalore by 6 a.m. With this, we have given three new trains to Machilipatnam,” he said. He said that platform numbers nine and 10 of Vijayawada station would soon wear a new look and witness train traffic. Referring to the ‘green toilets’ programme, Mr. Velu said Rs. 4,000 crores would be spent to replace the toilets in all the 36,000 coaches by the end of the 11th five-year plan. “Our research and development wing is designing new coaches and toilets as well. The new coaches will be of stainless steel and lightweight,” he said. Three designs of green toilets were on the drawing board. He said that the railways stopped using asbestos sheets to provide shelter on platforms after knowing that the sheets might cause cancer to people. “Now we are using gal-almonium sheets, which are expensive compared to the traditional sheets. Similarly, we have decided to use only granite to arrange benches on platforms,” he said. SCR AGM P.C. Kumar and Vijayawada DRM S.K. Sharma were present.