NEW DELHI: The Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station+ , which handles over 2.5 lakh passengers every day, will soon have renovated toilets, waiting rooms and designated taxi lanes. However, reaching the station, particularly from the direction of Sarai Kale Khan, will continue to test passengers. “I had to stop my cab 500 metres from the station entrance and make my way on foot,” grumbled Chandra Mohan, who was to board a train to Bengaluru. “I was unaware of the situation here, else I would have taken an alternative route.”
Negotiating the access road means driving past the teeming crowd of vendors and autorickshaws on either side of the already narrow stretch. Most passengers are forced to leave their vehicles and walk the kilometre or so to the station. A few take the option of the longer route from the opposite side.
According to Northern Railways, the stretch leading to the railway station falls under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction, and it has been trying, but not making much progress, in acquiring that land. Railway officials also said they had written to SDMC recently for a plot adjacent to the entrance from Sarai Kale Khan to widen the road there and create a parking lot. But nothing can be done as long as the railways doesn’t have possession of the land.
“We have offered the south corporation other sites in exchange, but are yet to receive a response,” said a railway official. We have also regularly written to the traffic police and the civic body to remove the unauthorised street vendors.”
R N Singh, divisional railway manager, Delhi, claimed to have drafted plans for road widening to improve access to the station. “People living in villages neighbouring the station also use the access road and cause congestion in the area. Autos and taxis hamper the free movement of private vehicles,” he said. “We want to widen the road and carry out greening, and build pay toilets to reduce open defecation along the walls.”
SDMC officials, when contacted, maintained that they had been regularly removing encroachments in the area and were contemplating other options too. “After their removal, the encroachers return within a few days. We have to seek the assistance of the traffic police to ensure the locality remains free of vendors,” said one official, adding that SDMC is considering the railways’ proposal.
In March, Northern Railways met lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and requested his assistance in the removal of encroachments from the entry points of major railway stations, including Old Delhi and New Delhi. Another letter apprised the LG of how passengers were required to walk to reach the Nizamuddin station and in cases, cross the road dangerously. “We hope for a solution by the end of the year. Once the encroachments are removed, tremendous improvement will take place,” assured an official.