Today's Paper

“Delhi station revamp not possible before C’wealth Games”

Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI: In a first major setback to grand preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2010, the Railways has stated that it will not be able to fully convert the New Delhi railway station into a “world-class” facility.

“Though the appointment of a global consultant has already been made and the construction work is likely to commence in mid-2008, we will still not be able to complete the entire project by 2010. However, some facilities related to crowd handling, recreation services and parking facilities will be ready before the Games,” Railway Board Chairman K.C. Jena told The Hindu.

The Rs. 5,000-crore project envisages the conversion of the New Delhi railway station into a world class facility having modern platforms, swanky waiting rooms and good recreation facilities, efficient goods handling system and modern depot for trains.

“The huge chunk of land required for the project belongs to the Railways and some other government agencies, some of which is under encroachment. Though a high-power committee has been formed by the Centre to look into issues related to land and other matters, it will still take some time before we get the entire land. Then we will have to raze the multi-storey railway quarters near the stations which is also a part of the project,” Mr. Jena said.

“Crowd handling at the station will be the main challenge for us during the Commonwealth Games. We are sure that by then we will be able to redevelop the station so that we can efficiently handle passengers and offer them good services,” he said, adding that he wanted to follow the Shanghai and Beijing model at stations. Giving details on the mega plan to redevelop railway stations, he said in the first phase, Indian Railways had decided to convert 22 stations into world class facilities. Six of these — New Delhi, Chennai, Howrah, Agra and Patna — were being done by the Railway Board, while the remaining would be redeveloped by the zonal railways.