Santragachi (SRC): The railway station at Santragachi will be developed into a terminal in the next 3-4 years, South Eastern Railway (SER) general manager Radhey Shyam said on Tuesday. This will allow SER more flexibility in operations. Though some long-distance trains do originate and terminate at Santragachi at present, it doesn’t have the facilities that a terminal should. Most SER trains are forced to use the congested Howrah station where operations are controlled by Eastern Railway (ER). Passengers complain that nearly all trains are detained while entering the station.
Santragachi, once it becomes a full-fledged terminal, will be popular among those living in south Kolkata as it can be easily reached via Vidyasagar Setu. With a bus terminal being built at Santragachi, accessibility to the terminal will also improve for those who don’t own cars.
“Till now, funds were a problem. This year, we have received Rs 75 crore and work can start. IRCON is handling the project. The total project cost is about Rs 300 crore. We should be completing it in the next 3-4 years. The Shalimar station will also be developed. We are also working on a fourth line at the Tikiapara yard to improve punctuality. At present, there is a lot of congestion and trains get detained. Though the cost involved is not high (about Rs 15 crore), the work will take time as it is a large yard,” Shyam said.
Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight is being observed across Indian Railways and on Tuesday, both Shyam and his counterpart from ER R K Gupta travelled on suburban trains and spoke to commuters to get their feedback. While Gupta travelled to Bandel and back, Shyam went up to Santragachi. Commuters told both general managers that they want punctuality to improve.
Gupta hopped from one compartment of the EMU local to another as it stopped at stations, interacting with people. From some, he asked for tickets while others produced theirs immediately after being told that he is the GM. In a near empty vendor’s compartment, Gupta came across a group of young men travelling all the way to Bandel and asked them to accompany him to a general coach. On entering this coach, the GM spotted a milkman with a huge can. When Gupta asked why he wasn’t travelling in the vendor’s compartment, the milkman replied that it was too crowded. The GM told him that it was nearly empty and asked for the milkman’s ticket. He couldn’t produce one.
“The passengers I spoke to complained of detention and punctuality. We will take steps to improve the situation,” Shyam said.