Tirupati Railway Station set for ₹524-crore makeover

TIRUPATI: South Central Railway General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav said keeping in view growing pilgrim rush to the Lord Venkateswara temple, the Tirupati railway station would be modernised at a cost of ₹524 crore.

Speaking to reporters here, after inspecting platforms and other facilities such as the cloak room, waiting halls and the cafeteria, Mr. Yadav said tenders for the works would be floated soon.

Platform numbers 4 and 5, he said, would be modernised as per international standards, with open waiting halls, a premier executive lounge and a spacious cloak room. Later, Mr. Yadav unveiled a statue of Lord Venkateswara at the entrance of the railway station, and took part in a puja.

Divisional Railway manager V.P. Singh and senior railway officials from Guntakal, Tirupati and Renigunta accompanied Mr. Yadav.

Also, much delay seems inevitable in starting Tirupati railway station redevelopment works as the tenders which were called earlier were cancelled due to some technical reasons and fresh tenders have to be floated again soon. This may take at least another three more months, said Guntakal Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Vijay Prathap Singh.

The Rs 500 crore works were aimed at developing the station like an airport with advanced passenger amenities and additional platforms. The General Manager of South Central Railway (SCR) Vinod Kumar Yadav has been trying to take up the works at the earliest to provide hassle free journey to thousands of pilgrims visiting Tirupati every day. He made several visits to the city and held several rounds of meetings with various agencies and officials in this regard.

But still the project was facing several hitches at every stage. Speaking to media, he said that the Railway Under Bridge (RUB) works at Rayalacheruvu Railway gate also will be delayed as the drain diversion works have to be taken up by local administration. It may be recalled that the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati has to take up diversion works which they could not do for long.

The railway authorities were waiting for these works to get completed. Though the government of AP has issued orders stating that TUDA has to bear the expenditure component on behalf of the government, there was no movement till date.

The DRM has made it clear that the works at Tiruchanur railway station were going on expected lines. He made surprise visits at Tirupati railway station on Monday and went round the platforms, waiting halls and inspected passenger amenities in view of the increasing rush on account of Vaikunta Ekadasi on Tuesday. Senior DCM Rakesh, Station Director K Satyanarayana, Station Manager M Subodh Mithra and RPF CI K Saidaiah were also present.

Tenders floated for RuB at RC gate

At last, fulfilling the long pending demand of denizens of pilgrim city to have a Road under Bridge (RuB) at Rayala Cheruvu gate, Railways have floated tenders to take up the works.

The works will be taken up jointly by railways and the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati and the total cost will be borne equally by the two authorities.

However, the State government has issued orders in October this year, that TUDA will bear the expenditure on behalf of the government and work in coordination with railways. The hardships of denizens with the level crossing gate at Rayala Cheruvu road were well recognised by the railways than civic authorities.

The problem was so severe at this gate which was located at the heart of the city connecting the north and south sides.

With an estimated 2.5 lakh vehicles passing through it daily while the gate will be closed as many as 80 times a day for the traffic to facilitate trains movement and the problem was unimaginable during the peak hours.

About 40 trains pass through this gate and it has to be closed for shunting and other purposes too. The problem was there for more than two decades while it aggravates by each passing day.

Taking into consideration the gravity of the problem, South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager (GM) Vinod Kumar Yadav took special interest in taking up the proposal for constructing RuB forward.

He visited Tirupati several times and held discussions with the civic authorities. Even, the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) and ADRM also held confabulations with the Corporation officials for several times.

In order to move ahead with the construction works, the main drainage that passes through the gate has to be diverted by the MCT. Unless, they complete this work, railways could not proceed.

Even after repeated discussions, the corporation has failed to take up the drain diversion works. They have to undertake some other works like providing approach roads etc., The lack of initiation from the MCT for almost one year has tied the hands of railways.

In fact, in such situations, civic authorities have to run after the railways to accept the proposals for bridge works. Here, the reverse was the case and yet there was no result. However, with the tender work has begun, railways have kept a board at the bridge site indicating the details of the project.

Speaking to media, the SCR GM said that the proposed works will be completed by August 31, 2019.

While the construction of bridge has to be taken up by railways, the shifting of water pipeline, UDC pipes and cables, construction of approach road and retaining walls were the responsibility of municipal authorities.

Asked about the delay in shifting of water and UDC pipes, he said, “They are doing it now. We have been getting full support from local authorities. Joint efforts will be made to complete the work before the stipulated time.

Let us move forward”. Still, as no works have been taken up at the bridge area to shift the lines, doubts persist on the completion of the project before the deadline.