Post-Bansal saga, railway development works at Chandigarh slows down

The pace of execution of development work at the Chandigarh Railway Station has slowed down over the past few weeks with the deadlines likely to be missed. So much so, even the new train that was to be flagged off early this month is nowhere in sight.

The station witnessed a flurry of activity after local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal took over as the Railways Minister. With trains being introduced and projects that were in the pipeline for years suddenly being cleared, the station was in for a transformation. In fact, for a complete makeover of the station, the deadline was set as September.

After the rail bribery scam in which Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla was arrested by the CBI while accepting a bribe from a member of the Railway Board, Bansal was forced to step down. From the time that he quit the ministry, the work at the station has been moving at a snail’s pace.

At present, work for installation of escalators and extension of the foot overbridge is on. Three escalators are to be installed at the station. While digging work had started some time back and the escalators have arrived at the station, these are yet to be installed. The foot overbridges are to be extended on either side so that the passengers who arrive at platforms other than 1 or 5 can exit without having to crowd on to platform number 1.

A train between Kalka and Shirdi was scheduled to be flagged off early this month. The train was to pass through Chandigarh and was among the several trains announced in the Railway Budget. A final date for starting the train is now undecided.

A railway official said, “The work which has already been approved and has started will be completed. But there is a difference as earlier the work was progressing very fast.”

There were several other proposals that were in the pipeline for the station. These included changing the facade of the station. A design for the same had been prepared. A food court was also proposed to be set up at the station to cater to the passengers. Besides, it was proposed that a multi-level parking lot with commercial space on the top floor be set up. Provisions were to be made for increasing the parking space available.

Sanitation at the station which was being given much importance when Bansal was the minister is also being neglected. Garbage heaps can now be seen at the station.