Year on,railway station cyber room fails to restart

When Chandigarh saw a ‘cyber room’ coming up at the Chandigarh railway station two years ago,the decision was welcomed by all.

Written by RituSharma | Chandigarh | Published: March 11, 2009 11:56 pm

When Chandigarh saw a ‘cyber room’ coming up at the Chandigarh railway station two years ago,the decision was welcomed by all. The authorities,however,could not sustain it for even a year,with the room shut for a similar period.

This,when there are claims of plans to make Chandigarh a world-class,wireless-fidelity-enabled railway station.

While complaints from passengers have fallen on deaf ears,the authorities blame the discontinued facility on the company providing the broadband services.

The cyber room was set up near the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) centre with a motive to provide Internet facilities at a subsidised rate of Rs 5 per hour to passengers. The Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) was given the contract to provide broadband services while the operations are still with the RailTel Corporation of India Limited,a Government of India undertaking under the Ministry of Railways.

“VSNL refused to continue with the services following a theft of some equipment a year ago. It closed the place soon after and did not respond thereafter,” said Jagjit Singh,RailTel officer at Ambala Division.

“Internet comes in handy when you urgently want to check your reservation status,avoiding long queues at the counters. When we requested the railway authorities at the station to provide some sort of Internet facility at the station,we were told that there is already one functioning near the PRS centre. It’s a pity that the Internet room has been locked for such a long time and the authorities have failed to do anything in this regard. Also,most of the times the touchscreen terminals at the entrance of the station remain out of order,” said Rajiv Tandon,a resident of Sector 22 and a frequent rail traveller.

Completely abandoned by the authorities,the area around the cyber room now wears a deserted look. Despite repeated requests from passengers and residents,the Railways has failed to restore the service.

Adding to the public’s disappointment,the authorities are clueless as to when the service will be available again. “There is uncertainty over the fate of the Internet room,” said Jagjit Singh.

Divisional Railway Manager H K Jaggi said: “The division provides space for the service and it is operated by RailTel. The reason for the failure of the facility could be that no party is interested in running the café.”

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