Calcutta, Jan. 22: The state government today agreed to the railways’ proposal to build a composite terminus for long-distance and suburban trains at Shalimar and Padmapukur in Howrah to take some load off the busy Howrah station.
The railways will construct the terminal at a cost of over Rs 600 crore while the government will provide the infrastructure around it, like roads, sewerage, bus and taxi stands. The station will take about five years to complete. The present goods terminus at Shalimar will be shifted to Sankrail.
The decision was taken at a meeting of chief secretary S.N. Roy and the general managers of Eastern and South-Eastern Railways, S. Sengupta and V.N. Garg. They had submitted the proposal to Roy a few days ago.
The project will be sent to the Railway Board for inclusion in the next budget.
Officials said the Howrah station handles over 4.5 lakh long-distance and suburban passengers every day. “There was a long-felt need to shift some of the crowd from Howrah station. There is a tremendous pressure on Howrah Bridge as well. After this terminus comes up, a lot of vehicular traffic will be shared by Vidyasagar Setu,” an official said.
Initially, the railways had proposed that suburban trains will be handled by Shalimar and the long-distance ones by Padmapukur. A final decision has not been taken.
The government’s problem is mobilisation of funds to build the infrastructure. “We need many roads and we have a lot of construction work to do…. Our role comes in after the composite terminus is half-way through. So we need to have some funds for the job within the next two years,” an official said.