Thiruvananthapuram: In order to bolster the development of prime railway stations in the country, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has joined hands with the Railways here to upgrade basic facilities at the central railway station in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Ministry had recently sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the purpose. Based on this, tenders were issued by the division last week. Twenty-four stations across the country have been selected for the joint venture.
Of these, three stations – Thiruvananthapuram Central, Madurai and Rameswaram – were identified from the Southern Railways. A few other stations in the state might be included in the venture at a later stage. It was decided that the project will be executed in 50:50 ratio by both the ministries (Tourism and Railways) since the railways does not have sufficient finances to upgrade stations on its own. “Even though such a proposal was mentioned in the railway budget 2011-12, it has not materialised so far. MoT representatives had discussions with railway officials here.
During these meetings, the MoT officials had specified that the railways should be willing to prioritise the development of stations as per an eight-point agenda fixed by the Ministry of Tourism. An agreement was made between both the ministries and the railways submitted the proposal as per the demands,” railway officials associated with the project told ‘Express’. The MoT has specified that waiting halls and retiring rooms of the stations be modernised in such a way that it is beneficial for tourists. Also, automated pay and use toilets should be set up at these stations.
International standard lounges, cloakroom facility with individual locker system, passenger-assisting systems, enlargement of the circulation area, handicapped-friendly stations and development of booking and Enquiry counters are also part of the priorities.
“Though the railways will be responsible for the development of the facilities at the stations where the joint venture is being executed, the MoT will have a major say in the planning process. Also, stage-by-stage analysis of the developments by the railways will be monitored by the MoT,” the officials said.