Stalled by apathy and neglect, Gomati Nagar Railway Station may be on track post polls
गोमतीनगर Gomati Nagar (GTNR): The railway timetable that comes out in July could list several trains as originating from Gomtinagar railway station. According to railway officials, the station has the required infrastructure to operate trains regularly.
“We plied five rally special trains in January from Gomtinagar station and we did that easily,” said the divisional railway manager of North Eastern Railway (NER), Anoop Kumar.
Gomtinagar railway station is an example of political apathy. After putting it on hold for more than a decade, the UPA government released funds for the station only in 2012 with eyes firmly set on the general elections. In July that year, the railway ministry decided to develop Gomtinagar as a three-line crossing station. The Railway Board released Rs 8.7 crore for its development.
“Whatever we could add to the infrastructure at the station using that amount, we have done,” said railway sources.
To function as a terminal, Gomtinagar station would need an additional platform, four additional rail lines, a new station building, a coaching complex and terminal facilities with a washing pit.
Despite its limitations, the station – the vision of former Prime Minister and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee -came as a great relief handling passengers during a political rally in January, officials said.
The station helped check congestion at Charbagh caused by the thousands that turned up for the rally, said sources.
“To decongest Charbagh, the Railway Board is already thinking of moves like shifting some trains from there to here,” said sources.
In October 2013, NER demanded Rs 70 crore to further develop the station. Though the funds have not been released in this year’s Rail Budget, it has not dampened hopes. More so, because things look set to change for Vajpayee’s “abandoned” project.
Functioning as a stoppage till 2003, things changed overnight for Gomtinagar railway station after Vajpayee proposed that it would be developed as a terminal. According to the plan, the station’s vast catchment area was to be developed into seven platforms. A Rs 100-crore plus budget was released but before it could be developed as a terminal, the government at the Centre changed. The project failed to derive the same priority and preference from the successive regime at the Centre.
Railway Board froze funds to the project and Gomtinagar railway station was again relegated to the status of a halt. Despite being developed at the cost of Rs 45 crore it never qualified as a railway halt.. A halt, as per the rule book, should have a few benches, shady trees, one or two water points and a single agent to sell tickets. The cost did not add up to even a crore. The station had two fully constructed platforms, computerised reservation system, an under-construction additional track, railway quarters and a well-constructed approach road. However, not more than 200 passengers visited it in a day. In 2007, a token budget of Rs 1,000 was released for it. Officials now hope for funds for the second phase of the station’s development.
- In 2003, then PM Vajpayee said the station would be developed as a terminal.
- A Rs 100-crore plus budget was released but the government at the Centre changed.
- Railway Board froze funds to the station and the all work stopped
- In 2007, a token budget of Rs 1,000 was released for it.
- In July 2012, Railway Board approved its development
- Board releases Rs 8.67 crore for it to be a three-line crossing station
- In October 2013, railways demand Rs 70 crore to develop Gomtinagar station as a terminal
- Funds not released in this year’s Rail Budget, but NER expects after elections