In a move that is set to provide further fillip to private investment in the rail sector, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC),t he nodal agency for station redevelopment projects, has invited bids for redevelopment of four railway stations- Nagpur, Gwalior, Amritsar and Sabarmati.
The redevelopment projects will be done on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer ( DBFOT) basis and will involve an estimated investment of Rs 1300 crores.
Gwalior station in Madhya Pradesh will be redeveloped at the cost of Rs 300 Crore. Nagpur station is set to be redeveloped at the cost of Rs.465 Crore. Redevelopment of stations at Amristar(Punjab) and Sabarmati (Gujarat) is expected to cost Rs.375 Crore and Rs.156 crores respectively.
Indian Railways’s ambitious station redevelopment plan, beseted with teething troubles, is also gaining significant momentum with revamp of Habibganj and Gandhinagar set to be completed by March next year.
The work at Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh is likely to be completed by January next year while the redevelopment of the Gandhinagar railway station will be done by March 2020.
The contracts for five other station redevelopment projects of Gomti Nagar (Lucknow), Charbagh (Lucknow), Puducherry, Triupathi and Chandigarh has been awarded and work has commenced in some of them.
The four bids floated by IRSDC comes close on the heels of Indian Railways’s decision to prioritise development of 50 railway stations, based on the best practices drawn from the privatisation of six airports in the country.
The Union Government’s thinktank NITI Aayog is pushing has been aggressively comprehensive plan for the holistic development of the area around 50 railway stations with the biggest potential to draw private investments.
In 2016, Indian Railways rolled out a plan to modernise 400 railway stations. Redevelopment of major stations across the country was planned to be executed by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the station. This program will help provide state-of-the-art amenities for passengers and generate additional revenues for Railways. However the proposal received repid response from private developers due to slowdown in real estate sector.
In October this year, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant wrote to the Railway Bard chairman VK Yadav and asked him to expedite the station redevelopment project by setting up an Empowered Group of Secretaries to enable faster decision making. NITI Aayog also suggested Indian railways to take these projects on a build-operate-transfer basis, where stations can be developed into economic clusters.
The government has also extended the lease period for the provate players from 45 years to 99 years
The Indian Railways has also roped in five public sector undertakings — NPCC, Engineering Projects, MECON, RITES, Bridges & Roof Co — to provide further mommentum to the station redevelopment project.