Kolkata and Asansol stations to be revamped with world-class facilities

Indian Railways (IR) plans to expand and upgrade Kolkata and Asansol railway stations to world-class standards, comparable to international airports.

The railways are also planning the redevelopment of Bandel and Jasidih stations in Jharkhand. It looks like these will be the biggest showcase projects for the Ministry of Railways ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Previously, the railways had approved the expansion of the only Asansol station, under the Eastern Railway Zone. Jasidih Railway Station, which falls under the Asansol Division of the Eastern Railway, located in the neighboring state of Jharkhand, is a popular destination for pilgrims heading to the Baba Baidynath Dham Temple in Deoghar.

Already, the preparatory works for the expansion works of Asansol and Kolkata stations have started and dedicated specialist officials have been appointed.

A high-level meeting was held at Asansol Division on Monday and sources said that very soon the Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be completed and submitted for final approval.

Parmanand Sharma, Divisional Director of Asansol Railways, Mukesh Kumar Meena, ADRM and other department heads of the division were present at the meeting.

Senior New Delhi Railway officials also joined the meeting via video conference, sources said.

Speaking to The Statesman, Ashish Bhardwaj, chief engineer of Eastern Railway, said the division will oversee construction work on these projects. “The entire project will be completed within two years of the start of construction work. The railways have already appointed a consultant for the project and the detailed project report will be prepared soon,” he added. It is expected that the DPR will be submitted by August. Already for Kolkata and Asansol, the initial needs survey has been completed.

The chief engineer (construction), station development, has been assigned to megaprojects, sources said. Earlier, a DPR was prepared by Bridge and Roof Constructions of around Rs 750 crore and sent to the headquarters for approval from Asansol station.

However, a new DPR will now be prepared by the consulting agency.

Indian Railways has already set up world class airport type railway stations in Gandhinagar Capital Railway Station in Gujarat and Habibganj Railway Station in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Habibganj station, set up at a cost of Rs 450 crore last year, modeled after Heidelberg station in Germany. A five-star hotel has been set up above the train tracks at Gandhinagar Capital Station.

Already, a high-level team led by ADRM Asansol Mukesh Meena, has visited and inspected Habibganj station.

“Besides seamless traffic control, Asansol Station will have world-class amenities for passengers, such as food courts, escalators, refreshments, shops, parking, lighting, decorations, and more. “, added DRM Parmanad Sharma.

Zonal Railways have been tasked with the conversion of these four “Railopolis” mega projects and the goal is to provide a comfortable and world-class rail travel experience for passengers.

Once set up, these train stations will likely operate on a PPP model, sources said.

Asansol is the 8th busiest station and the annual increase in passenger numbers is around 8-10%. The station handles around 10,000 passengers and 171 trains per day. The station building is a heritage structure, erected in 1885.

Richard F. Gandhi