The general manager of Eastern Railway said on Friday that officials involved in construction and renovation have been instructed to take proper precautions and safety measures following the “disaster” at Burdwan station last week during which a portion of the main building collapsed.
“It was an unfortunate incident at Burdwan station for which a probe is going on. We have given instructions to the officials concerned to take every precaution and safety measure before doing any construction or renovation work, even on platforms. The aim is to avoid such disasters again,” said Suneet Sharma, the GM (Eastern Railway), at Suri station in Birbhum on Friday.
Sharma had arrived at Suri along with a group of officials from the Asansol division to inspect the station.
On the night of January 4, a portion of the two-storey Burdwan station building, which was being renovated, collapsed, prompting a section of officials to question why the building was being renovated without proper precaution and study.
Some railway officials had said a project to decorate the outer portion of the façade, and change its floor and pillar tiles, had started a month ago without proper precautions or advice from heritage-work experts.
The Burdwan station, built in 1855, is considered to be among Eastern Railway’s “heritage stations”. Sources said the Howrah, Sealdah and Asansol stations were also heritage properties.
“There are dozens of stations that were constructed in the British era. We have to carry on small-scale renovation work at those buildings. The incident at Burdwan station taught us a lesson, and we will take all kinds of precautions before commencing any such work in these buildings,” said a railway official in Burdwan.
Sources said Eastern Railway authorities had contacted IIT Kharagpur to resume construction work at the Burdwan station building, whose first floor houses the officers’ rest room, retiring rooms and first-class waiting rooms.
“We have already consulted IIT Kharagpur and sought their help to chalk out a renovation plan for the damaged building. We are trying to start reconstruction work at Burdwan as soon as possible, as we can’t use the utilities on the first floor till it is reconstructed,” said Ishaq Khan, the divisional railway manager of Howrah.
Railway officials said the main enquiry section — located below the collapsed façade — was forced to remain closed this week pending repairs. “The main entrance to the station is also closed,” an official said.
“There are two additional exits from the station, but they are narrow, and passengers are finding it difficult to exit smoothly when more than one train arrives,” he added.