LAHORE -  Plan for reconstruction and upgradation of around 50 railway stations has been finalised, which, according to officials, would be helpful for generating revenue and modernising the public utility.

Under the mega project, the construction work on two (Narowal and Nankana Sahib) of the three stations of Sikh tourism has already been stared with approved cost of Rs659.99 billion while the tenders are in process for upgradation of Hasanabdal station. The stations built over 100 years back were in bad condition.

An official document showed that the work for upgradation of Okara and Sahiwal stations is in progress and for Khanewal station is in designating and planning phase under the project of doubling of track with approved cost of more than Rs12 billion.

The PC-I for upgradation of 11 important railway stations was approved with a cost of Rs846 million on June 18,2016 which included upgradation of stations like Karachi Cant, Karachi City, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Bahawalpur, Raiwind, Lahore, Gujranwala (City and Main), Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Work at Gujranwala, Bahawalpur has already been commenced, while work has been awarded for Raiwind station and agency nominated while Lahore and Karachi are in the planning and designing stage for provision of escalators, lifts and new pedestrian bridges. These major stations will undergo mega upgradation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Another PC-I is under process for renovation of 31 important railway stations throughout the country with estimated cost of Rs.2.3 billion. According to PC-1, Rs988 million would be spent on renovation of stations at Rahimyar Khan, Sadiqabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujrat, Wazirabad, Lahore, Multan Cantt, D G Khan, Layyah and Mianwali, Rs677 million are proposed for upgradation of Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Sehwan Sharif, Khairpur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Panu Aqil, Sukkar, Karachi Cantt and Khokhrapar stations. The Railways will spend Rs227 million for upgradation of Nowshera, Jahangira, Haripur Hazara and Havelian while Rs287 million are proposed for Quetta, Sibi, Chaman, Harnai and Koh-e-Taftan stations.

“The Railways has made an ambitious plan to rebuild certain stations and upgrade and renovate other important stations to provide all modern day facilities and amenities to passengers,” MD Stations’ Up-gradation Farrukh Tamor Gilzai told The Nation.

He said Nespak was engaged in designing and resident supervision of the works to ensure best quality of work at all major stations. “New buildings will include upgraded computerized booking and reservation offices, furnished waiting rooms for ladies and gents with attached bathrooms, public and staff lavatories, clean drinking water, properly laid sewerage and storm water drainage.”

Tamor said the ramps will be provided for easy access of people using wheel chairs while height of low level platforms was being increased for easy entry and exit of passengers from passenger coaches.

“Approach of the stations and circulating area is also being developed for sufficient parking areas, better lighting arrangements at platforms and in parking lots etc. Since government of the Punjab has agreed to improve the approach road at important stations, provision has been made to develop commercially rentable areas within the station building and near the station building within the railway boundary, to generate substantial revenue as the stations are located in heart of the city, besides developing a public park on open/barren land.”

He said the purpose of generating revenue from railway land was to run and maintain these stations on self-sustaining basis.