Belgian team feels Nagpur is fit to become world class station

NAGPUR: There is enough potential for the railways to develop Nagpur as a world class station, said the two-member Belgium team of experts on Friday, adding that a master plan for Nagpur will be prepared in six months.
Nagpur_Railway_StationTechnical Director Marc De Vreese and architect Eric Kellens of Euro Station, a Belgian government-owned company, having extensive expertise in transforming historical railway stations into modern international terminals, told reporters there was enough scope to develop Nagpur station as world class. Divisional railway manager (DRM) Brijesh Dixit and additional DRM Uday Borwankar were present.

Indian Railways had on August 12, 2012, signed an agreement with Belgium to modernize and redevelop some of the country’s railway stations. The Belgium team was in the city to explore possibilities to redevelop Nagpur, which is among 50 stations designated to be developed as world class. This was the same team that transformed historic Antwerp station in Belgium, which was facing demolition. They made a presentation on various stations they redeveloped.

The team was dumbfounded to see how 125 trains and 60,000 passengers were handled by the administration every day with scarce means and crumbling space. The team visited the base kitchen, retiring rooms, lobby etc and were positive about the scope for development.

“Our basic idea is to create better mobility by easing congestion. Station redevelopment will include technical modifications,” said Vreese. The station building is a heritage structure and utmost care will be taken to develop it without damaging its original fabric, he added.

“Nagpur is the pilot project to start with. Things will begin with master planning, followed by technical feasibility. By November, all ground work will be done by steering and working groups of experts to determine and define scope and modalities of activities and projects. Things will be finalized during the Belgium prince’s visit to India in November,” said Vreese.

The team also went to Ajni station, but were of the view that developing Nagpur station as world class would be more advantageous and financially viable, as it was centrally located and real estate value was also higher than Ajni.

“When you develop any project on public-private partnership (PPP) basis, real estate value is important,” they said.

The team along with DRM Dixit and Borwankar were at the station for around three hours. “We were well prepared. The Belgium team liked the friendly atmosphere here and available infrastructure and space for expansion. We will carry forward the initiative. The development will cost nothing less than Rs.200 crore tentatively,” Dixit told RailNews.

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