Our Bureau

Kolkata, Dec. 1

RELEASING a commemorative volume titled Vibrant Edifice, celebrating 100 years of the Howrah Station building (at old complex) here on Thursday, the Governor of West Bengal, Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, said if it's Gateway of India for Mumbai, and Qutub Minar for New Delhi, it's Howrah Bridge and the 100-year-old red-bricked station building of Howrah Station for Kolkata.

"One cannot be separated from the other, and the Howrah Station is veritably the heartbeat of Kolkata."

The Governor ceremoniously inaugurated the Howrah Station building centenary celebrations at the Howrah Station Concourse on Thursday.

Pointing out that a whopping Rs 200 crore was spent annually on maintenance of the 100-year-old Howrah Station building, construction for which was started by the erstwhile East Indian Railway on December 1, 1905, Mr Gandhi said the money spent was well worth it.

Suggesting that the Eastern Railway should strive to do even better by way of maintenance of the building to make life easier for the lakhs of passengers who throng to the station every day, the Governor said platform tickets worth several lakhs was sold every day at Howrah Station, perhaps unmatched by any other railway station in the country.

Urging passengers to buy platform tickets, as a matter of habit, just as he himself had done on this special occasion, Mr Gandhi said it was needed not to improve the railways' earnings, but to contribute individually to the station's welfare.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr Shyam Kumar, General Manager, Eastern Railway, said the station was initially housed (in 1854) in a mud hut, and it was under Lord Dalhousie that construction of the present building was started in December 1900.

Trains started running from the northern side of the station, where the suburban service section is now located.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 2, 2005)
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