The Railways has brought some good cheer for Bihar, amid the gloom of floods and destruction, with Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announcing a slew of amenities for passengers in the state.
Among the most passenger-friendly moves, Prabhu announced the availability of Wi-Fi facility for passengers waiting at railway platforms for browsing the Internet at high speed. The service is being provided by RailTel in partnership with Google.
"Floods in Bihar have caused distress, I have directed concerned officers to extend all possible assistance to the people. We wanted to do this programme to ensure that people get the benefit of these amenities as soon as possible," said Prabhu.
"In Chapra, we are also providing Wi-Fi. First we had a target of providing Wi-Fi at 140 stations, now we are targeting 200 stations to provide Wi-Fi this year and in two years time, we will provide it in 400 stations," said Prabhu, going on to list the amenities provided at other railway stations across the state.
Prabhu also announced the foundation stone laying for Gaya Byepass, electrification of Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir section, and new amenities for Bihta station, which is 28 kms west of Patna and Chapra station.
The Bihta Station is an important station connected with the state capital where dozens of long distance trains halt.
The amenities here include extension of platforms for accommodation of 24 coaches, extension of four platform sheds, provision of 12 benches for the passengers and a water booth.
Chapra, not only gets the Wi-Fi connection, but also two escalators at a cost of Rs 145.54 lakh, 36 CCTV cameras, four water vending machine, each costing Rs 4.5 lakhs and a second entry gate is also being constructed at a cost of Rs 24.62 crore to meet the demand of passengers.
The minister also announced a green corridor in the Bhagalpur-Banka section of Malda Division wherein all the coaches will have bio-toilets by 2019-2020.
Prabhu highlighted the importance of the electrification of Bakhtiyarpur-Rajgir section which was the missing link between two electrified corridors of Mughalsarai-Patna- Bakhtiyarpur-Sitarampur-Howrah (Delhi-Howrah main line) and Mughalsarai-Gaya-Dhanbad-Sitarampur-Howrah.
The proposed route via Tilaiya is a shorter route for transportation of coal to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Apart from coal, this line also carries fertilisers, food grains, cement and salt.
"In the next few years, amenities for passengers will only get better. After becoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had said that we will make the Railways such that people get the best amenities and they feel that everything has improved for the better," said Prabhu.
The minister also announced the electrification of Meralgram-Renukut section which is a part of the Garwa road- Chopan-Singrauli line covering 257 kms passing through the states of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.