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HomeTrendsAmrit Bharat Station Scheme: Amrit Kaal's Initiative To Upgrade Bharat's Rail System.

Amrit Bharat Station Scheme: Amrit Kaal’s Initiative To Upgrade Bharat’s Rail System.

Indian Railways! The name itself is enough to mark the giant aura of the Indian Economy. With around 3.52 billion passengers and 1512 MT of freight in 2023, Indian Railways is one of the world’s busiest and oldest railway networks. The railway is properly termed India’s lifeblood since it operates approximately 13,000 trains daily, serving 7,325 stations around the country and providing employment opportunities for many people.

To keep this massive machine running well, the Railway launched the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme, which seeks to revitalise 1309 stations nationwide. The weekend witnessed Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s groundwork for redeveloping 508 railway stations around the country under the project. The government has set aside around Rs 24,470 crore for the programme. 

Amrit Bharat Station Scheme 2023.

These are the stations. 

  • 55 in Uttar Pradesh.
  • 55 in Rajasthan.
  • 49 in Bihar.
  • 44 in Maharashtra.
  • 37 in West Bengal.
  • 34 in Madhya Pradesh. 
  • 32 in Assam.
  • 25 in Odisha.
  • 22 in Punjab.
  • 21 in Gujarat.
  • 21 in Telangana. 
  • 20 in Jharkhand.
  • 18 in Andhra Pradesh. 
  • 18 in Tamil Nadu.
  • 15 in Haryana.
  • 13 in Karnataka.

Objectives of Amrit Bharat Station Scheme.

  1. This initiative intends to improve station facilities by incorporating modern amenities such as roof plazas and city centres. It also intends to build “a sufficient number of toilets,” “divyangjan amenities,” escalators, more comfortable and durable waiting hall furnishings, and free Wifi.
  2. The Railways is also developing Master Plans incorporating both sides of the city. This integrated strategy is motivated by the holistic vision of the city’s urban development centred around the train station. The plan envisions high-level platforms (760-840 mm) for all station classifications. According to the plan, the platforms would be 600m long on average.
  3. Moreover, the programme intends to build “Executive Lounges and places for small business meetings” in train stations.
  4. It also suggests road widening, eliminating unneeded structures, correctly designed signs, dedicated pedestrian walkways, well-planned parking spots, increased lighting, and other measures to guarantee seamless access.

But do you think any development on Indian lands or any remarkable event can go without the interference of opposition criticism? Of course not! Here comes the onset of the opponent’s critics. 

Rights body flags gaps in Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. The Freedom of Movement Coalition (FMC), advocating equity and parity in transport, has warned the Railway Ministry and PM Gati Shakti to spend Rs 24,470 crore on infrastructure that everyone, including PwDs, can use. The movement also revealed gaps in the paperwork for rebuilding and existing infrastructure.

Freedom of Movement Coalition.

FMC stated in a news release that current plans for station reconstruction under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme (ABSS) had gaps and incorrect logic. It also said that the station’s upcoming upgrade lacks fundamental safety and usefulness.

ABSS currently violates India’s Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act required accessibility compliance (sections 44-46 and section 15 of the RPDA Rules), under which the deadline to retrofit old infrastructure and services has long passed. New procurement is to be by the Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India,” according to the FMC press note.

FMC recently encouraged the Railway Board to revise ABSS documents on a priority basis in a letter. Some demands include specifying compliance standards against the relevant station, modifications in FOB orientation, and adjustments in lifts and escalators.

A ramping level change solution for emergency evacuation and expected mechanical problems is required. Similarly, a covered FOB may be a pleasant amenity for ordinary passengers, but the sheltered passage is a safety hazard in bad weather for passengers with locomotor impairments,” the letter stated. In addition, the letter encouraged the Railway Board to remedy gaps in the document ‘Guidelines on the accessibility of Indian railway stations and amenities at stations for differently-abled individuals and passengers with restricted mobility,’ issued in November 2022.

More crucially, FMC firmly advocated for the commissioning of a pre-project access audit and a pre-inauguration access assessment with consultants.

The pre-construction access audit will form precise design drawings that will address present issues encountered by impaired passengers. “A similar access audit report should be conducted following redevelopment, with findings on compliance forming part of the Commissioner of Railway Safety’s inspection and clearance for the inauguration,” the letter stated.

Ultimately, every angle needs to be calculated for a plan to optimise. Therefore, these criticisms about Amrit Bharat Station Scheme are necessary to achieve a 360-degree plan output. 

PM Modi.

Let’s hope to get the best for Indian Raiways in this Amrit Kaal.

Priyanka Chakraborty
Priyanka Chakraborty
Chakraborty is a Digital Journalist at Inventiva who drafts content on current social topics. Her forte is documenting opinionated content based on data, facts, and numbers while adhering to media ethics, which go beyond simply crafting news headlines. Her core intent in writing such content is that every word her viewers read should give meaningful insights to their time spent on the articles.
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