NEW DELHI: To reduce congestion at its main railway station, Indian Railways is now planning to develop ‘satellite’ railway stations which will not only save the time of passengers in reaching the railway station but would also reduce congestion on the roads and reduce pollution as well.
Such satellite stations will have sufficient facilities like food plazas, shopping complexes, business centers, multi-modal integration so that they serve multiple functions besides transport.
Indian Railways (IR) carries about one million intercity passengers per day but over the years cities have grown around the railway stations because of which there is now no scope for geographical expansion of most of the existing station terminals for handling more number of trains and passengers. But with an increase in the pace of urbanization and migration of people to cities, the problem is further going to aggravate. Many of such stations like New Delhi Railway Station are already choked.
Thus Railways believes that “development of satellite terminals away from the congested city areas where land is available is the need of the hour to handle the demand of ever growing population in cities,” said a senior railway ministry official.
A note prepared by the ministry of railways on the subject noted that, “given the low subsidized fare on Indian railways, satellite terminals cannot be financially justified though it offers huge economic benefits for the city.”
“State Government’s participation in development of satellite terminals can accelerate the process which in turn will help decongest cities and improve the connectivity to other cities. Thus to address the above pressing problems confronting IR and our cities at large, a policy for the development of satellite terminals is essentially required,” the note observed.
The policy note emphasized that, “Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the support of State Governments shall be the preferred mode of execution to take advantage of the private investment, efficiency and expertise in developing such projects”.
The main objective of the railway ministry behind the idea is to, “save time of passengers in reaching the railway station, to reduce congestion on the roads, to reduce pollution, to increase the total train handling capacity of the different railway stations in the city and to provide stations which are easily accessible and comfortable for the passengers.”
As per the note, Railways shall identify cities where satellite terminals need to be developed in consultation with the State governments and the, “identified satellite terminals can be developed as nerve centres for the city transport and as centres of economic activity for the population residing in the adjoining areas.”