East Coast Railway (ECoR) is planning to provide free Wi-Fi at some small stations like Damanjodi and Tikiri with the help of corporate houses and public sector undertakings (PSUs). Local students and youths (mostly belong to small towns and rural areas) will get benefit of the service, said ECoR sources.
The Railways has a provision to provide Wi-Fi services to A1, A and B category stations. “But there is no such policy to provide this facility in small stations. So the ECoR has decided to make some small stations Wi-Fi enabled with the help of local industries and business houses for the benefit of the locals,” said ECoR chief public relations officer JP Mishra.
Presently, A1 category stations, Bhubaneswar, Puri and Visakhapatnam, and A category stations like Cuttack, Khurda Road, Sambalpur and Vizianagaram have Wi-Fi facility. The Railways has started process to provide Wi-Fi facilities to B category stations like Paradeep, Balugaon, Chatrapur and Bargarh Road.
The ECoR has identified some stations under the jurisdiction of three railway divisions- Khurda Road, Waltair and Sambalpur. These stations are-Mancheswar, Barang, Kendujhargarh, Jakhapura, Talcher Road, Chilika, Bhawanipatna, Lanjigarh, Ambadola, Singapur Road, Bissamcuttack, Hirakud, Badmal, Jeypore, Jharsuguda Road, Tikiri, Damanjodi, Kottavalasa, Kirandul and Garividi.
All these stations are situated near different industries and corporate houses. The corporate houses can provide fund from their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) fund to provide these facilities in the stations, said the ECoR official sources.
Besides, the corporate houses and PSUs, the local volunteer or social organisations can also sponsor the project. “Even individuals like MLAs and MPs and business persons are welcomed to tie up with us,” said Mishra.
As per the procedure, the zonal railways will install the Wi-Fi hardware at the station, while monthly recurring cost to the telecom provider will be sponsored by the organization.
ECoR has already installed a Wi-Fi system at Bissamcuttack station in Rayagada district. Testing of the service is underway. Four local organisations have come forward to sponsor the project in the station, official sources said.
“If any corporate house interested to provide this service at their nearest stations, they can contact the concerned divisional railway manager of the railway division,” said Mishra.