| Work on the new waiting hall in progress at Bhubaneswar railway station. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 15: The wait for a train is about to get cool, literally.
Passengers will soon have the option to quit pacing up and down the platform and relax with a magazine or check your friends’ latest Facebook updates because the Bhubaneswar railway station is set to have a 400-seater air-conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled waiting room for passengers. It is likely to be ready by the end of May.
East Coast Railway (ECoR) sources said that the upper class air-conditioned waiting halls with plush seats would be decorated with pictures of famous destinations in Odisha. The construction, executed by the Khurda road division of the EcoR, is expected to be ready within the next three months.
At present, the station has nine retiring rooms including four AC and five non-AC rooms. However, the facilities are not enough to meet the rush of passengers. The station also has a 26-bed dormitory.
Official figures reveal nearly seven lakh passengers depend on the railway station every month and more than 120 trains originate or pass through it everyday.
“Though the station witnesses a heavy rush of passengers on a daily basis, the authorities have not been able to provide adequate infrastructure for our comfort,” said Binod Panigrahi, a passenger.
The new air-conditioned waiting hall will be equipped with modern facilities such as mobile and laptop charging points, LCD television, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and plush interiors. At present, the tariff for retiring rooms is Rs 750 for double-bed AC and Rs 400 for a non-AC facility.
ECoR authorities said an escalator would soon come up at the station to help people with disabilities.
Conversion of the station into a world-class facility with adequate parking space and food courts is also expected to happen within the next three years. ECoR has already chalked out a master plan for this.
The plan includes a multi-level parking lot, a new building, two additional platforms and a flyover on Master Canteen roundabout. The multi-storey parking lot would be able to accommodate more than 4,000 two-wheelers and around 900 cars.
The railways have estimated that Rs 205 crore would be needed to revamp the station, which will have four upper-class waiting halls with a capacity of 150 passengers each, two executive lounges and a VIP lounge.
There are also plans to have five second-class air-conditioned waiting halls with a capacity of 200 passengers each along with adequate number of multi-cuisine food stalls, bookshops and medicine shops.
“In future, passengers will get better amenities at the station,” ECoR chief public relations officer R.N. Mohapatra said.