BHUBANESWAR: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday launched the high-speed WiFi service at Bhubaneswar Railway Station even as Congress activists staged protest against the decision to shift the proposed wagon repair factory from Kalahandi district.
After Mumbai Central, Bhubaneswar became the second station in the country to have high-speed Internet facility for the benefit of passengers. The WiFi service will benefit 1.4 lakh visitors daily. Prabhu announced that the service will be launched in Puri and Cuttack soon.
Addressing a function organised to mark the occasion, Prabhu said similar service will be made available at Puri Railway Station before the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in July. Cuttack station will have WiFi service within a year, he added.
The project will be rolled out to cover 400 stations across the country. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Singh was also present.
Referring to the protest by Congress outside the station over the decision to shift the wagon repair factory from Kalahandi, both the Union Ministers criticised the UPA Government for announcing the project without any budget provision.
“We do, what we say. But, earlier, they (the UPA Government) announced the project without making any budgetary provision. There was no mention of Narla project in the pink book. The announcement was made on political consideration,” Sinha said.
Stating that a factory cannot be made by making an announcement only, Prabhu said, “We have said 100 stations will get WiFi service this year and we will do it.”
BJD MP Prasanna Patsani, State Tourism Minister Ashok Panda, party MLAs Bijay Mohanty and Priyadarshi Mishra skipped the function. BJD’s Rajya Sabha member Baisnab Parida was, however, present.
Criticising the BJD representatives for their absence, Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohapatra described it as unfortunate. “This has created a bad precedent,” he said.
Introduction of WiFi service is part of a project towards Digital India initiated by the Indian Railways. Indian Railways’ telecom arm, RailTel Corporation, will provide Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fibre network in partnership with Google. RailWire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a working mobile connection on a smartphone or on any laptop device.
Among others, Chairman of Railway Board AK Mital, Member (Staff), Railway Board Pradeep Kumar, General Manager, East Coast Railway Rajiv Vishnoi, CMD, RailTel RK Bahuguna attended.