The old bridge at Tatanagar station that will be converted into a footbridge. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
A-class Tatanagar’s ambitious climb has been arrested, at least for the time being.
The electrical engineering department of Chakradharpur division may have rushed the blueprint of a Rs 1-crore escalator project to the Garden Reach headquarters of South Eastern Railway (SER) for final approval after the Railway Board cleared it last year, but the money train is nowehere in immediate sight.
Divisional commercial manager of Chakradharpur Subhashis Kole said that the moving stairways, which would be the first of their kind in this railway region, was a part of an extensive campaign to become passenger-friendly.
“Along with the pair of escalators, which will connect platforms one and two, a lift has been proposed to make railway journey easier for the elderly and the indisposed. However, funds are a constraint right now. We are looking forward to a nod from the headquarters as soon as money is made available. The escalators were supposed to run by the end of this year. But, it will be delayed,” he added without specifying how long so.
On the planned footbridge, the senior railway official maintained that the tender process had been completed and work would begin soon.
“According to plan, the old and abandoned bridge will be converted. Once the footbridge is ready, we will also be in a position to commission the second entry to the railway station from the Burmamines end,” he said.
Work on entrance two to Tatanagar began in 2010. Ticket counters, a waiting room, toilets, a car park and other facilities are almost ready. The Chakradharpur authorities have also taken steps to sort out encroachment issue. However, until and unless the footbridge comes up, logistics problems shall remain.
Tatanagar station manager Awtar Singh said the twin escalators and the new entry point would be a boon for the elderly, the differently abled and passengers with heavy luggage. “Hence, we are eagerly waiting for them.”
The Chotanagpur Passenger Association has, meanwhile, decided to send a delegation to Garden Reach to pursue officials to expedite clearance of the escalator project.
“Tatanagar is significant because it falls on the Howrah-Mumbai main line. It is the busiest passenger junction in the state and hosts around 80 trains every day. Dhanbad, which is a much smaller station, has escalators,” senior functionary of the association U.K. Srivastava reasoned.
During his visit to the A-category station a couple of months ago, SER general manager Radhey Shyam himself had promised escalators at Tatanagar soon keeping in view the increasing footfall. At present, the station witnesses a passenger count of 60,000, the highest in Chakradharpur division and also in the state.