Many railway projects moving at snail’s pace

Sushant Ranjan
Monday, 25 December 2017

Pune: The year 2017 failed to bring some cheer for the railway commuters in Pune Division as several projects which were announced in last five years are either stuck or are progressing at snail’s pace. As a result of this delay, the passengers continue to suffer. Some of the ambitious projects such as Pune station development on ‘Swiss Challenge’ model, Shivajinagar makeover on public private partnership (PPP) model and construction of a new terminal at Hadapsar saw no progress this year too.

Pune: The year 2017 failed to bring some cheer for the railway commuters in Pune Division as several projects which were announced in last five years are either stuck or are progressing at snail’s pace. As a result of this delay, the passengers continue to suffer. Some of the ambitious projects such as Pune station development on ‘Swiss Challenge’ model, Shivajinagar makeover on public private partnership (PPP) model and construction of a new terminal at Hadapsar saw no progress this year too.

Swiss Challenge
Pune station is among the 23 railway stations which are going to be revamped along the lines of a ‘Swiss Challenge’ model, in the second phase of a mega modernisation programme slated to kick off later this month. Passengers may soon get to enjoy ‘airport-like facilities’ such as separate entry and exit points, connectivity with local transportation, pick-up and drop-off points, and access to internet, at 400 stations across the country.

Along with five other railway stations in the State, the Pune station will be taken care of by a private contract company on a public-private partnership model and Rs 200 crore is slated to be spent for the project. The other stations to be similarly remodelled are the Thane, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai Central, Bandra and Borivali.

No progress
Now, its almost a year, there has been no further progress on this project. The railway authority from New Delhi, claimed that the project aimed for a facelift will start soon.

However, the tender has yet not floated. The reason given by authority that the some stations are already in the queue and Pune has to wait for few more months.

Shivajinagar station
As the Pune station is the busiest station in the division, the railway authority had announced a facelift of Shivajinagar station. The plan to redevelop Shivajinagar station under public private partnership floated four years ago is delayed as its clearance from the State government is still awaited. The project was announced in March, 2013, under which five stations across the country would be developed by Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) in collaboration with private partners. The plans were submitted by Pune division to the railway board, and the design was approved.

Project stuck
The file is still stuck with the State government which is yet to give it a go-ahead. The railways had sought a 3.5 Floor Space Index (FSI) for the project, a 2.5 FSI jump from the current 1 FSI in the area. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited’s proposal to include its Shivajinagar stop in the planned railway station complex has also compounded the issue.

Hadapsar station
Almost, four years ago, the railway had announced to develop Hadapsar station as a second station, still there is no progress in this regard. The project work will start within in two months, which is next year and the tender will be floated in couple of week. When the announcement was made in 2013, it was expected that the load on the Pune station will be eased. Railway authorities had said the total cost to develop Hadapsar station as a terminal would be about Rs 23.94 crore, but since the project got delayed, the cost has gone up.

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