Villagers build own railway station!

For 25 years, residents of Tajnagar village near Gurgaon lobbied for a railway station in their village. When their demand was not met, the  villagers decided to take matters in their own hands — they pooled in Rs 21 lakh and built a railway station on their own.

On Tuesday 5th Jan 2009 , the result of their efforts — perhaps the first railway station in the country on which the Railways didn’t have to spend a single penny — will start operations.

 “We have hired a vehicle to spread the message that the station is getting functional. It’s no less than a festival for us and we are organizing a puja at the station. All passengers will get prasad,” said an elated villager, adding that the station will benefit people from other villagers as well.

 It all started about two years back, when the panchayat passed a resolution saying that since the Railways was not able to build a station for them, they would do it themselves. And with their own money. Soon, an 11-member ‘gram seva samiti’ was constituted and it started collecting money from villagers.

 “Most of the 3,000-plus people living in the village are agriculturists. But such was the burning desire to have a station in the village, everybody contributed according to their capacity. Ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 75,000 they donated money for the station and we started construction in January, 2008,” said Ranjeet Singh, former village sarpanch.

“There are a large number of people in the village who need to go to Gurgaon, Delhi and Rewari. There are students who go to colleges. Till now we had to either go to Hailimandi or Patli to catch a train. Both stations are 6km away from Tajnagar. We thought that when the railway line passes through the village, we should have a station here. We have been raising the demand since 1982, but the Railways told us that they do not have funds. So, finally we decided to craft our own destiny,” said Hukum Chand, a member of the committee.

 The villagers then asked the Railways if it would agree to stop a few trains at the station if they constructed a station with their own resources. To their surprise, the Railways agreed to make seven passenger trains (in both directions) halt at the station if it was built according to its specifications.

 “The Railways decided to make it a halt station because a number of people would benefit from it. Financially too, the idea looked viable,” said Anant Swaroop, Northern Railways spokesperson. He added that a station master and ticket collector had been appointed.

 The station, which took one year for completion, has two platforms. It has a kachcha platform, water and electricity, and a ticket counter. It would be inaugurated by Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjeet Singh. Villagers said as a skeleton station was ready now, they need the Railways’ help to make a concrete platform, a waiting room and an overhead shed.

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