Pune: Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has put the ball in the Pune division’s court stating that the local authority will be able to give details of the projects (redevelopment of Hadapsar, Shivajinagar stations and the Pune Junction). These projects are pending due to lack of funds.
On Monday, Piyush Goyal held a press conference in New Delhi to share the achievements of the Indian Railways in the past four years of his government. He interacted with journalists at 13 centres, including Pune, via video conferencing. When asked about the delay in these important projects, he stated that officials will be able to give details about the local level projects.
The redevelopment of Shivajinagar station, which was announced two years ago and Pune station, which was to happen using the ‘Swiss Challenge Method’, have been held up due to lack of funds. Officials said the division received Rs 50 lakh for the terminal expansion of Hadapsar station, which was announced in 2012-13. The project’s original cost was Rs 23.9 crore. However, due to delays, the cost has been revised to Rs 38 crore.
“We are waiting for funds from the Railway Board. The lack of funds is causing delay in the project. We are sure that the funds will be provided but if we get them early, our target is to complete them in this financial year. Similarly, the project for the re-modernisation of the Pune junction is still pending,” said Praful Chandra, Additional Divisional Railway Manager of the Pune Railway Division.
The officials claimed there is no scope to start new trains from the Pune junction at its present capacity. While there are limitations in increasing the capacity of the station, it was proposed that suburban stations such as Shivajinagar and Hadapsar could be developed as terminals to host long-distance trains, which will not only be convenient for passengers staying close to these places but will also take off the burden from the overcrowded Pune station.
While these projects remained grounded, the Railways floated another redevelopment plan in June 2017. The redevelopment of the Pune junction using the ‘Swiss Challenge Model’, under which the 23 railway stations across the country were to be upgraded to give airport-like facilities to passengers with the help of private players, said officials.
Following the announcement, several bidders had approached the officials with Ernst and Young, which was appointed as advisory firm and was handling the prospective bidders. There has been no development since. As per details provided by officials, Rs 50 crore was allotted to start the Pune junction project. Till now, the division has received Rs 50 lakh.
‘Rail Madad’ mobile app launched
Goyal launched a new mobile application, ‘Rail Madad’ (for desired assistance during travel), which allows passengers to lodge complaints through the mobile app or the web platform and aims to integrate all modes of filing complaints, including through the offline and online modes.