New Delhi, March 4 (IANS): Days after Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee apologised in Parliament for the delay in developing 60 stations into world-class ones as proposed in her previous Rail Budgets, the Railways on Thursday said it would take five-six years to complete the project.
In written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways KH Muniappa said work would begin after award of concession and financial closure is achieved by the concessionaire.
The completion of the project is likely to take five-six years due to "complexity and necessity to undertake the work while keeping the station operational", the minister said. He said consultancy works for preparing the master plan and feasibility report had been taken up for New Delhi, CST Mumbai and Patna, but "due to high cost of these projects, not much headway could be made".
He said measures had been initiated for appointment of consultants for 11 other stations - Secunderabad, Howrah, Anand Vihar (Ph. II), Chandigarh, Bijwasan, Kolkata, Porbandar, Surat, Ahmedabad, Sealdah and Chennai Central. For other stations, preliminary activities are being taken up by the Zonal Railways, he said.
In her Rail Budget in 2009 Banerjee had proposed that around 50 stations would be developed as world class stations with international level facilities. The stations would be developed through innovative financing and in Public Private Partnership mode. Among the stations to be developed into world class stations are CST Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Howrah, Sealdah, Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Amritsar, Kanpur, Guwahati, Jaipur, Chennai Central, Tiruvananthapuram Central, Secunderabad, Tirupati, Bangalore City, Baiyapanahali (Bangalore), Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Habibganj, Gaya Jn., Agra Cantt., Mathura Jn., Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri, Majerhat, Mangalore, Porbandar, Anand Vihar (Delhi), Bijwasan (Delhi), Ajmer Jn. and Puri.