Pune: Even as concerns are being raised by commuters about the chaotic situation on the existing foot over bridge (FoB) at Pune railway station, there are no indications that a new bridge will be ready soon.
On an average, about one lakh commuters use the main FoB daily at the Pune station, which was built in 1856 and extended in 1926. This FoB begins at the main entrance and is the only FoB connecting the six platforms, as well as the exit on the rear end of the station, which is near the Raja Rao Bahadur Mills Road.
The total budget for the project is Rs 14 crore but the Pune division has received only Rs 4 crore so far while the second installment is yet to be released due to which the work has been stalled for the last two months. While the sources say that the ministry has inculcated that the remaining funds will be released during the next financial year, the officials are apprehensive that if the release of funds is delayed, till then the work may take still longer to finish.
Presently, there are two other FoBs at the station including the one inaugurated last year, which remains under-utilised. A FoB near the parcel office, which connects platforms 1 to 6, but few passengers use it as a large number of parcel bundles often block the way of passengers. The other one, built last year, connects only three platforms and is not popular among the commuters, thus putting extra load on the old over bridge.
As per the plans, the new FoB, which will come close and parallel to the old FoB, will have a width of 12 m, which is double that of the old bridge. When it comes up, the new bridge will augment the space for passengers adequately.
"Rs 8 crore was supposed to be released in August, but we are still waiting for it. Because of this, the work has been stalled. The initial amount of Rs 4 crore was used for erecting pillars and other things. For last 2 months, we are sitting and are awaiting the funds," said an official involved in supervision of the project.
Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group called for the newly-appointed Divisional Railway Manager Milind Deuskar to take up the issue with the Zonal Headquarters as well as with the Railway Board.
"The kind of crowd that you see using the old bridge during the rush hour, one really fears that one of these days something untoward will happen. The new DRM has his task cut out before him. He should do the requisite follow-up with the higher offices and get the funds by letting them know the seriousness of the situation," said Shah.