Dhanbad may soon become the first railway station in Jharkhand to get A1 category status.
East Central Railway is in the final stages of preparing a proposal to be tabled before the Railway Board for granting A1 status to Dhanbad station along with Gaya and Mughalsarai. Three stations of East Central Railway — Patna, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga — have already bagged the coveted status.
Once the status is bestowed, Dhanbad station will boast facilities like at least one air-conditioned VIP lounge, food plaza, train coach indication system, cyber cafés, escalators, pre-paid taxi service and CCTV for announcement and security purposes.
The minimum eligibility criteria for being granted the AI category station status is annual earning to the tune of Rs 60 crore. Dhanbad secured an earning of around Rs 60 crore through passenger earning in the 2011-12 fiscal, and in 2012-13, the figure crossed the Rs 60 crore mark in December itself.
Providing details, senior divisional commercial manager of Dhanbad division Dayanand said the proposal was being given the final touches at the East Central Railway zonal headquarters in Hajipur. The announcement is expected during the Railway Budget in March.
“Passenger income through counter booking and other sources like penalties and platform tickets has been around Rs 53 crore till date. Once the income from e-tickets is added, the figure will be more than the minimum criteria of Rs 60 crore,” Dayanand said.
Dhanbad railway division authorities initiated a number of steps over the last one year to increase passenger amenities like CCTV monitoring for reservation counters and face to face enquiry system. Other facilities like an air-conditioned waiting hall for ticket attendants was also launched.
Welcoming the development, president of Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rajiv Sharma, who is also member of Zonal Railway User’s Consultative Committee said the A1 status for the station will translate to better facilities. He, however, also demanded direct trains from Dhanbad to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc.
“Besides increasing facilities, the railway administration should also increase the number of trains as without them the facilities will be meaningless,” said Sharma.
Notably, railway stations in India are divided into seven categories — A1, A, B, C, D, E, F. A category stations are those with annual passenger income between Rs 6 crore and Rs 50 crore. Non suburban stations with annual passenger income of Rs 3 to Rs 6 crore and railway stations of tourists importance are B category stations. All suburban stations are C category, while non-suburban stations with annual passenger earning between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 3 crore are categorised D. Non suburban stations with passenger earnings of less than Rs 50 lakh are in E Group while railway halts are grouped in F category.