S. Sandeep Kumar
Lalu Prasad too had made a similar promise in last year’s budget
‘Promise to develop Secunderabad stn. into world class status not new’
‘The station was neglected despite being a huge revenue earner’
HYDERABAD: Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement as part of Railway Budget that Secunderabad Railway station would be developed as a world class station has not cheered many in the State capital, as similar promise made by her predecessor in the last year budget remained unfulfilled.
Despite the announcement nothing much seemed to have happened but for periodic official assertions that plans were afoot to make Secunderabad station a ‘world class station’. The plan, at least on the drawing board, was to go for vertical development of the station, by constructing platforms on different floors. There were plans to have malls, restaurants and other passenger facilities like booking offices, waiting halls on different floors and each floor connected with escalators. However, all the plans remained only on paper. In fact, former Railway Board Chairman K.C. Jena who inspected the station in September last year disclosed that 26 stations, including Secunderabad were to be developed into world class stations under Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis and the project would cost nearly Rs. 6,000 crore. He went on record saying that consultants were to be hired to finalise the global tendering process and that the process was to be completed in six months.
Former Union minister of State for Railways, R. Velu too announced this during his visit to the station in January this year.
Despite these official assertions, nothing had been done and Secunderabad finds itself included in a list of 50 stations to be developed as world class stations this year also.
“SCR always gets biased treatment from the Railway Board despite it being a huge revenue earner”, laments Noor, a member of the Hyderabad Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee.
However, the railways officials say that it could take at least two years to commence the works of modernising the station. “It’s a mammoth project”, they point out.