Work to develop New Delhi as world class station to begin in July

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) Work on developing New Delhi station with world class facilities will begin in July with a massive investment of Rs 5000 crore, Railway Board Chairman K C Jena announced here today.

''We may not be able to complete all the projects at the station before the Commonwealth Games in 2010, but the basic facilities, including transportation of passengers through underground links with the upcoming metro rail connecting the airport, would be in place,'' Mr Jena said.

He said the Railway Board would directly monitor the work on New Delhi along with five other stations. These are Chennai, Patna, Jaipur, Agra and Howrah.

After New Delhi, Patna will be the second station where work would commence to develop it as a model station. In all, 22 stations have been identified which are located at metropolitan cities and major trourist centres for development through the PPP route.

Mr Jena said New Delhi station is spread over an area of 86 hectares, out of which five lakh sqm will be developed commmercially for making it a world class station.

''We are hopeful of commencing work on New Delhi station in July after finalising a contractor for it on the PPP model. The Model Concession Agreement in this regard is being finalised in consultation with the Planning Commission,'' he added.

The Railway Board Chairman said all the agencies involved in the project were fully geared towards completing the project on time.

He also pointed out that a Group of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, had been formed to monitor the project and ensure coordination among various departments and agencies.

Mr Jena said the biggest challenge facing the Railway Ministry in developing New Delhi as a model station is the large number of passengers who use it at any point of time.

''We may be forced to divert some trains to other stations in the capital city in order to expedite work on the project,'' he added.

Mr Jena, who recently visited China to learn about the facilities at stations there, said Beijing East and Shanghai South are being developed as model stations ahead of this year's Olympic Games. ''But these stations, being small ones, were closed for two years. We cannot afford to do so in the case of New Delhi station as it is one of the busiest stations in the country, and this is our most formidable challenge. We have to keep the rail traffic going and at the same time work on the station has to be carried out.'' About the facilities, he said there would be separate arrival and exit routes, budget and star hotels, undergound connection with metro trains and separate waiting areas for passengers.

UNI/SKS SB HT1928

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