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Free Wi-Fi awaits passengers on station premises

The wave is set to reach Patna Junction soon after splashing the 18km Ashok Rajpath-Bailey Road stretch.

Wi-Fi has hardly witnessed such coverage plan in public area in any other city across the country.

Indian Railways has started working on this ambitious project, which would be executed in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. East Central Railway (ECR) general manager Madhuresh Kumar told The Telegraph: “The Railway Board has asked RailTel Corporation of India to handle this project to enable Net connectivity at all A1 category stations through Wi-Fi. As Patna Junction comes under the A1 category, it would be equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity.”

RailTel is a public sector undertaking and a telecom infrastructure provider of Indian Railways. While presenting the railway budget last month, minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had said all A1 category stations would get Wi-Fi connectivity.

Patna Junction is the ECR’s one of the most crowded stations, which receives footfall of around 1.75 lakh everyday with 350 pairs of trains passing through it.

Sharing the project details, a senior official of Danapur signal and telecom department said preferring anonymity: “Apart from RailTel, a foreign company, Cisco, which manufactures and designs networking equipment, will also be involved in the project. In next three months, the system would be installed at Patna Junction.”

Two railways stations — Bangalore City and Mysore — are already covered under Wi-Fi. Bangalore City was the first railway station in the country to have Wi-Fi connectivity.

About the total project cost, the official added: “It would be completed at the cost of Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh covering all 10 platforms, including the surrounding areas of the station. Passengers with smart phones, laptop and tablets can chat with friends online absolutely free and can use the Net facility for other purposes also.”

ECR chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak said: “In today’s world, information technology plays a very important role. Like food and water are required to survive, in the similar way Net facility is quite required at public places. It is the best way of communication and entertainment. As Patna being one of the busiest railway stations of ECR, lakhs of people will get the benefit, especially the tourists.”

After Patna Junction, five more railway stations of ECR would get Wi-Fi connectivity — Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Gaya, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga.

People have already started using Wi-Fi on the key stretch from the NIT to Bailey Road regularly.