If all goes well, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) may take up the construction work of the state-of-the-art executive lounge proposed by the Railways at the Ernakulam Junction station.
Even though the Thiruvananthapuram division had initially planned to entrust the work with the Tourism Department, the apathy of the tourism officials has forced the Railways to approach the GCDA now.
A meeting in this regard was held between GCDA Chairman N Venugopal and Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agarwal the other day.
With the commissioning of the new parcel office at the western side of the station this week, the proposal to set up the lounge at the existing parcel office space gains momentum.
“Initially, we had approached the Tourism Department officials. Tourism Secretary Suman Billa had visited the station with Rajesh Agarwal last year. Based on the inspections, the project was entrusted to the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC). Even though we had requested the DTPC to submit a master plan for the same, we have not got a positive response so far. So, we approached the GCDA,” said Ernakulam Railway Area Manager P L Ashok Kumar.
“The GCDA Chairperson has evinced a keen interest in executing the project. The executive lounge requires heavy investment as well as expert architectural skills which can be provided by the GCDA. A detailed discussion will be held in Thiruvananthapuram on November 10,” he said.
As per the plan, the Railways envisages to set up a paid high class executive lounge to cater to the needs of tourists as well as long-distance passengers. Those who wish to refresh themselves can book the space for two to three hours. This will help tourists or even students who visit Ernakulam for attending examinations. The lounge will be equipped with Wi-fi facilities, comfortable sitting chairs, luggage racks and bathrooms. The Railways is also planning to set up an A/C waiting hall exclusively for women passengers.
Speaking on the role of the GCDA in setting up the lounge, N Venugopal said, “We are holding talks with the Railways. Discussions will be held on Wednesday. We will have to conduct a study to find out how feasible the project is for us.”
Extension of Sixth Platform
Kochi: Meanwhile, the Railways is planning to extend the sixth platform of the station in such a way that it will have the capacity to halt 22 coach trains. “Currently, only trains with 16 coaches can be accommodated at the platform. We held talks with the GCDA Chairman and sought his permission to take up a portion of their parking space to extend the platform. The work will begin immediately. Once the platform is extended, we can even install the escalator which has been planned here,” Ashok Kumar said. The Railways has decided to give away 10 cents of their land at the eastern entry of the Ernakulam Junction station to the GCDA for the construction of a bus terminal and widening of the parking space. Passengers who arrive in private buses can alight at the bus terminal and avail themselves of the train services.