Eco-friendly Ekta Nagar station provides seamless connectivity across the country
Braving the pandemic, heavy monsoon and many other related hurdles, Kevadiya’s railway connectivity with the new site, now known as Ekta Nagar Station, is now fully operational, providing seamless connectivity for passengers to visit the 182 meter Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world. , dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the architect of independent India.
Constructed at a faster pace, the newly constructed station has become India’s first railway site to become a green building connecting the southern, northern, eastern and western parts of the country with around 10 railway services.
Certified by the Indian Green Building Council, the green station came into existence in record time after the acquisition of 220 hectares of land for the new railway project in August 2018.
Land acquisition for the Pratapnagar-Ekta Nagar new line project was completed in July 2020 and the project is now commissioned within five months at a total cost of around Rs 800 crore.
Aiming to provide cleaner, greener, faster and environmentally friendly rail transport, the 84 km long Pratapnagar-Ekta Nagar (Kevadiya) section has been electrified in accordance with the 100% electrification policy of the Railways Mission to reduce carbon footprint.
It has a total of seven stations with three major (passing) stations and four minor (stopping) stations.
Out of these four are new stations – Moriya, Tilakwada, Garudeshwar and Ekta Nagar, and three are existing stations, namely Dabhoi, Vadaj and Chandod.
Using modern technology and state-of-the-art machinery, the Ekta Nagar station was commissioned on January 17, 2021, with solar power, LED lights, rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment plant and glass blocks, among others, the station now has about 1,000 steps per day.
According to the Western Railway official, glass blocks were used as part of the facade element. These glass blocks act as a thermal barrier, significantly reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
Autoclaved aerated lightweight blocks were used for the masonry work for the entire construction and circulation area. These blocks have a fly ash content which makes them a green product with reuse of waste.
Another innovative concept is the use of glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) grids as the main facade element with a combination of glass blocks.
This being lightweight, reduces the load on the structure. It is also a durable material and has good thermal resistance and also provides circulation and ventilation, the official added.
The first two levels of the station have passenger facilities such as AC waiting rooms and a VVIP lounge. The third level houses a viewing gallery from which tourists can get a good view of the Statue of Unity and; a tribal art gallery is also being developed here.
A 12-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Unity sits in the prime location of the station’s traffic area. It is also designed by the same sculptor Ram V Sutar who designed and created the Statue of Unity.
The surrounding area includes ample parking, landscaping, theme park, solar street lights, wide traffic lane, horticultural plants, theme park with selfie zone, food courts and children’s play area.
The landscaping of the garden was done with young trees and local plants with the use of organic fertilizer. The green garden covers 4,000 square meters in the circulation area of the station. The circulation area is paved with cobblestones which ensure high thermal resistance.
In order to boost domestic and international tourism, Ekta Nagar (Kevadiya) railway station is located just 6.5 km from the Statue of Unity. The alignment crosses the tribal belt of Vadaj-Chandod-Moriya-Tilakwada-Garudeshwar and brings development to the area/region.
It also provides connectivity to important religious and ancient shrines nestled on the banks of the Narmada River such as the ancient temples of Karnali, Poicha and Garudeshwar.
Providing seamless rail connectivity to the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ from various directions across the country, the railway project station acts as a catalyst for the region’s overall socio-economic development, generating new jobs and new business opportunities.
Land acquisition for the new line project was completed in July 2020 and the project is now in operation within 5 months.
Crediting the completion of the project in record time to the railways dedicated workforce, Western Railway CPRO Sumit Thakur said: “It was indeed a most difficult time with the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic all around us. Despite these obstacles, our people have worked with courage and sincerity in relentlessly pursuing infrastructure and development work.”
He added, “The workforce comprised of our engineers as well as sub-contractors were motivated to get back to work following all the protocols stipulated by Covid-19 with the aim of completing the project on schedule.”