Raipur: Passengers will be able to log on to the Wi-Fi service at prominent railway stations of South East Central Railway zone, including Raipur, with the facility likely to be installed at these places by next year.
As many as 23 railway stations of various categories under the jurisdiction of SECR zone, comprising Bilaspur, Raipur and Nagpur divisions, will be equipped with the?Wi-Fi?facility in different phases.
"In the first stage of the project, the facility will be set up at railway stations of the state capitals in the country while along with it stations falling under A1 category will be covered within the current financial year," SECR's Chief Public Relation Officer R K Agrawal told PTI.
"The objective is to convert railway stations to technically sound places to boost passenger amenities," he said.
In the SCER zone, two railway stations -- Raipur and Bilapur -- meet the eligibility criteria of A1 category.
Being a capital, priority will be given to Raipur while simultaneously the process of installation would progress and?accomplished?in Bilaspur too by March next year, Agrawal said.
Subsequently in next phases, the facility will be provided at A and B categories of railway stations - Raigarh, Champa, Korba, Akaltara, Pendra Road, Anuppur, Shahdol, Umaria, Ambikapur (Bilaspur division), Bhilai Power House, Durg, Bhatapara, Tilda (Raipur division) and Rajnandgaon, Gondia, Bhandara Road, Dongargarh, Chhindwara, Ramtek, Chandafort, Itwari (Nagpur division), he said.
The railway stations have been classified on the basis of yearly earning capacity. The stations which earn over Rs 60 crore annually are placed under A1 category.
"Bilaspur and Raipur stations recorded earnings over Rs 100 crores in the financial year 2013-14," he said.
The passengers and visitors will have access to Wi-Fi service free of cost for the first 30 minutes at the stations while after the free usage limit, they can continue using the service on paid basis for which subscription plans are available in various denominations, Agrawal said.
RailTel Corporation of India, a public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Railways, has been tasked with providing the Wi-Fi facility.
The tender has been floated for Wi-Fi with 3G facility installation at A1 category stations, he said.
Notably, while tabling the annual rail budget for 2015-16, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced Wi-Fi facility will be provided at around 400 railway stations.
Several railway stations in the country have already been equipped with the Wi-Fi facility, which include Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Secunderabad.