| A man catches some sleep at an empty Patliputra Junction. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The newly constructed Patliputra Junction has everything but train services.
The platforms have become a shelter for slum-dwellers of nearby areas and the parking lot of the station has turned out to be a good place for those trying to hone their driving skills.
The railway assets are either being misutilised or are lying unused since the inauguration of the station continued to get delayed despite having all the facilities in place.
Though the station was supposed to become functional after the general election, it is not yet being used for passenger services. Thick layer of dirt lay on the expensive sofas and chairs placed in the waiting room, the station master’s room, deputy station master’s room, parcel room and the enquiry room.
A senior East Central Railway (ECR) official posted at Danapur division said: “We are aware about the condition of Patliputra Junction and we also know that the railways is losing a good chunk of revenue. From September 2013, the station is ready and we tried our best to make it functional but it seems no one’s interested in its inauguration. Even senior officers in Delhi are not bothered about the station.”
He added that at present everyone is busy preparing the railway budget to be presented on July 8.
After Patna Junction and Rajendra Nagar Terminal, Patliputra Junction is the third big station in Patna. Built at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore and 12km northwest of Patna Junction, the station would reduce load on the two other halts through which around 350 trains pass daily. The Patliputra station would also be used as a halt for trains that end up taking up space at Patna Junction.
The railways failed to get it inaugurated for various reasons on three occasions. There is a kilometre-long stretch of road parallel to the railway track, which is in very bad shape. Nearby villagers from Rupaspur and Jalalpur are demanding its repair and a foot over bridge linking it to another road, where it ends near a track.
About the demands of the villagers and the possibility of the station becoming functional anytime soon, ECR chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak, said: “The villagers’ demands are not genuine. The railways have already constructed a foot over bridge for their convenience. The villagers just need to walk a little more. They want the bridge in front of their houses.”
The newly elected member of Lok Sabha from Pataliputra constituency, Ram Kripal Yadav, said: “I have spoken to the minister of state for railways (Manoj Sinha) when he visited Patna recently. It would be functional soon.”