A differently abled passenger at Tatanagar on Sunday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Here’s some good news for Tatanagar passengers, particularly the elderly and the indisposed.
Living up to its A-class sobriquet, South Eastern Railway’s second busiest railway station is preparing to take commuters for an escalator ride by the middle of this year.
The tender process for two of these conveyor transport devices has been completed. While one will provide access to platform No. 2 and 3, the other will link platform Nos. 4 and 5 at Tatanagar.
The moving stairways will connect the platforms with an abandoned overbridge, which will be revamped into a railway footbridge once the proposed second entry to the station from Burmamines-end is made operational.
Senior divisional commercial manager of Chakradharpur railway division K.N. Biswas said they were waiting for a green light from the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) to convert the abandoned bridge. “The tender for installation of the two escalators has been finalised. We are now waiting for a nod from the CRS regarding the bridge,” he added.
Sources said funds to the tune of Rs 1.70 crore had been earmarked by the Railway Board for the escalator project. Tatanagar will be the second station under South Eastern Railway (SER) to boast this facility. Howrah station in Bengal, which is also the most busiest, already has escalators connecting its old and new complexes. The facility was introduced in 2011.
Biswas said the bridge and Burmamines entry issue had come up for discussions during the Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee meeting in Chakradharpur on December 28. The railway division set a March deadline for opening the second entrance, which is aimed at decongesting Tatanagar that witnesses a daily footfall of 50,000 passengers.
However, a section of officials expressed fears of delay in getting a nod from the commissioner of railway safety. “Work on ticket counters, a waiting room, toilets, car parking and other facilities are almost complete. It is possible to make the second entry from Burmamines operational within a week. But, the go-ahead for using the abandoned bridge is yet to come from the CRS. We think it will take another month,” said a senior railway official from Chakradharpur.
He, however, expressed hope that the escalators would be ready for use around June. “The tender has been finalised. Once the nod from CRS comes, the work for the escalators will begin.”
Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has welcomed the move.
Suresh Sonthalia, a senior functionary of SCCI and an executive member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, said during a recent meeting at Santragachi, SER general manager A.K. Verma had assured him that the escalator plan at Tatanagar would materialise in the next financial year.
“We are happy that the railway has taken the issue seriously. Escalators at the station will benefit the old and the infirm, besides passengers with heavy luggage,” he added.