Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

India villagers build own station

Tajnagar station
It was a long-standing demand of villagers to have their own station

A railway station, financed and built by villagers near the Indian capital, Delhi, has opened for service.

Residents of Tajnagar and nearby villages in the Delhi suburb Gurgaon pooled 2,080,786 rupees ($45,000) to build the two platforms.

The construction work took seven months and was done under the supervision of railway authorities.

The area is badly connected by roads and officials say the new station is likely to benefit about 25,000 people.

The state-owned Indian railways network is huge, connecting every corner of the vast country.

It operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries 18 million passengers every day.

There are nearly 7,000 stations across India.

Almost all of them were built by the railways, but officials said a handful of small stations between Delhi and Ambala (in Haryana) were funded and built by local people.

'No priority'

It was a long-standing demand of villagers in Tajnagar to have their own railway station.

A train near Allahabad, India (file photo)
Millions of passengers travel by trains in India daily

They lobbied for years with the railways, but it was not a priority for the authorities.

"The railways have limited resources and we have to prioritise, and it was not a matter of priority for us to build a station in Tajnagar," Northern Railway spokesman Anant Swarup told the BBC.

So the villagers got together and came up with an alternative plan - they put forth a proposal to build their own railway station.

"The railway authorities considered their proposal and found it feasible. So it was given the go-ahead," Mr Swarup said.

Seven local passenger trains will halt at the station on the Gurgaon-Rewari route, he said.

The station is very basic and is described more as "a halt". It comprises only two platforms and there is no station building.

The Tajnagar station is situated between the Patli and Jataula Jauri stations - 3.5km (two miles) from each station.

The road distance between Patli and Tajnagar is 12km (seven miles) and villagers say the new station will reduce their travel time drastically.

"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 college. Until now we had to go to Hailimandi or Patli to catch a train," The Times of India newspaper quoted a villager, Hukum Chand, as saying.

"We have been raising the demand [for a station] since 1982, but the railways told us they did not have funds. So, finally we decided to craft our own destiny," he said.

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