Work on development projects of the Indian Railways, worth about Rs 5,384 crore, is on at Varanasi and nearby areas in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The work, related to the expansion of rail infrastructure and beautification of railway premises, is going on at Varanasi and nearby areas, including Ghazipur, Ballia, Azamgarh and Mau.
The projects related to laying of new tracks, doubling of tracks, electrification etc. aim to cater to the large number of people in the region who migrate to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other big cities in search of employment opportunities. According to a senior Railway Ministry official, there is a “thrust” now on rail projects in the region, which was not there earlier.
About 53 projects worth around Rs 3,904 crore are under implementation around Ghazipur to put the backward area neighbouring Bihar on the railway map. Ghazipur is the Lok Sabha constituency of Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha.
The Ghazipur railway station has got a “complete modern look” with escalators and other facilities and the Railways has also introduced a number of trains to cater to the residents of the area. Besides, a Zonal Training Institute and a train washing pit are “almost ready” at Ghazipur.
The major projects in progress include the laying of a new track between Mau-Ghazipur-Tarighat (51 kms) and a rail- cum-road bridge on the Ganga near Ghazipur at a total cost of Rs 1,764.25 crore. An amount of Rs 1,480 crore is being spent in the region on projects related to expansion, beautification and installation of escalators, which would ease the pressure on the Varanasi Cantonment railway station.
Ever since the BJP-led NDA government came to power at the Centre in May 2014, the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh has been on the radar of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As far as expansion of the rail network is concerned, the allocation for the state has jumped to Rs 7,118 crore in 2017 -18 financial year. The average allocation over the last three years was Rs 3,405 crore.
Other projects include doubling of tracks with electrification of the Bhatni-Aunrihar section (125 kms) worth Rs 468 crore, doubling of tracks in the Ballia-Ghazipur section (65.1 kms) at the cost of Rs 467 crore, doubling of tracks in the Aunrihar-Jaunpur section with electrification (68 kms) at a cost of Rs 300 crore and doubling of tracks in the Ghazipur-Aunrihar section (40 kms) at a cost of Rs 197.73 crore.