GUWAHATI, Oct 27 - Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is expediting work on providing free Wi-Fi services to the commuters. The facility was rolled out in as many as 64 train stations of this region in September alone.
“We are working towards providing free Wi-Fi hotspots in all the 363 stations of the zone, except the halt stations, by the end of the current financial year. Wi-Fi facility has now been provided in more than 200 stations across the NFR zone. During September, we commissioned the facility in 64 stations,” a senior Indian Railways official told this newspaper.
Of the stations where the free Wi-Fi service was rolled out last month, 17 are located in Northeast Frontier Railway’s Tinsukia Division, 20 in Lumding Division, 11 in Rangiya Division, nine in Katihar Division, and seven stations in Alipurduar Division.
The stations of Tinsukia Division where the service was commissioned in September were Panitola, Makum Junction, Dhamalgaon, Lepetkata, Dikom, Chabua, Tingrai, Digboi, Lahoal, Margherita, Chaulkhowa, Khowang, Naharkatia, Dibrugarh Town, Moranhat, Tangani and Selenghat, while in the Lumding Division the stations covered were Rangapahar, Dhansiri, Daldali, Diphu, Jagiroad, Khatkhati, Bokajan, Chungajan, Naojan, Katakhal, Panchgram, Sarupathar, Barpathar, Bhilgaon, Bhanga, Badarpur, Karimganj, Nilambazar, Barlangfer and Langcholiet.
The stations covered by the service in the Rangiya Division were Changsari, Sripani, North Lakhimpur, Gogamukh, Pancharatna, Krishnai, Amjonga, Silapathar, Dhupdhara, Rangjuli and Singra, while those in Katihar Division were Bhatnaha, Arariya Court, Jhaua, Hatwar, Kanki, Dalkhola, Telta, Manihari and Araria during September.
In addition, Wi-Fi facility was also rolled out at Dalgaon, Basugaon, New Baneswar, Gumanihat, New Chengrabandha, Chengrabandha and Kalaigram stations of Alipurduar Division.
“Passengers can now easily purchase tickets under the Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) from these stations by using mobile Apps. They can also avail various facilities as well as information free of cost while being present in the railway stations,” said the officials.
There are 363 railway stations in the NFR zone and of those 68 were covered with Wi-Fi services in the last fiscal.
All A-1, A, B, D class stations under the zone’s jurisdiction were covered with Wi-Fi facility during the first phase of the project.
Railway sources said that the services have been widely appreciated by the commuters and the number of users has grown exponentially over the last few months.
“A majority of block headquarters that have railway stations have now been provided with Wi-Fi network. This year, 295 stations of the zonal railways will be provided with Wi-Fi facility under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) head by M/S Tata Trust. Among the stations to be covered during the current fiscal, 35 are in Tinsukia Division, 87 in Lumding Division, 64 in Rangiya Division, 55 in Alipurduar Division and 54 in Katihar Division,” said the official.
Indian Railways had earlier started rolling out Wi-Fi services at stations across the country as part of the Central government’s Digital India programme.
“Rail Wire Wi-Fi at stations is gaining popularity. It has become a preferred choice of the passengers while they are at railway stations,” the official added.
High speed Wi-Fi service at stations was earlier provided through collaboration of RailTel and Google during the first phase. RailTel provided high speed end to end network connectivity on Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), while Google provided radio access network equipment along with technology support.