New Delhi, Feb 8, 2017: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday launched the first phase of station redevelopment programme for 23 major railway stations across the country.
As part of the programme, the Railways will take up 400 stations in 100 top cities for redevelopment into smart stations, equipped with self-ticketing system, escalators and better amenities for the passengers.
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The entire project, that is being touted as the world’s largest such programme, will use at least 2,200 acres of land and see investments worth Rs 1 lakh crore.
The 23 stations that will be redeveloped in the first phase include Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur City, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantonment, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.
The first phase will utilise a budget of Rs 6000-9000 crore, and the tenders will awarded through free bidding.
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The Railways will provide 140 acres of encroachment-free land for the development of these stations under a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Speaking at the occasion, Prabhu said that “the Railways have certain advantages out of which one is holding of land on a large-scale” and that stations are a place “where lots of people wait to board a train and thus Railway Stations can be developed into an iconic property”.
He said that smart stations are a prerequisite of a smart city and upon completion a total of 16 million passengers will be able enjoy the facilities at these stations.
Other amenities at the redeveloped stations will include digital signage, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, and free and paid Wi-Fi, among others. (IANS)
In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.
Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.
The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.
BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.
The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.
Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.
“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.
The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)