GMR Business and Consultancy, Kalpataru Power Transmission, Cube Construction Engineering Ltd and Monte Carlo Ltd are among nine major players qualify for redeveloping four stations in the public-private partnership model at an estimated cost of Rs 1300 cr.
Gwalior, Amritsar, Nagpur and Sabarmati stations are to be redeveloped with a total built up area of 54 lakh sq ft for commercial development for which total 29 applicants were shortlisted for the Request for Proposal (RFP), the next stage.
While six applicants qualified for Nagpur, eight applicants qualified for Gwalior, six applicants qualified for Amritsar and nine qualified for Sabarmati.
In Dec 2019, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), the nodal agency for station redevelopment projects, had invited RFQs (Request for Qualification) for redevelopment of four railway stations- Nagpur, Gwalior, Amritsar, Sabarmati and transform them into iconic city centres.
Railways has a plan for redeveloping 400 railways stations envisaging the cost of the station redevelopment project was to be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the stations. The stations were taken up for redevelopment based on financial viability.
IRSDC opened the RFQ applications on June 26 of these four railway stations and received overwhelming response from 32 developers and funds despite the current COVID-19 scenario.
After evaluation, IRSDC, the nodal agency for redevelopment of stations, shortlisted the applications received and out of the 32 applications, 29 applications were qualified for the next stage.
Kalyan Toll Infrastructure, KB Infrastructure, ISQ Asia Infrastructure Investments and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments have also qualified to enter the race for the ambitious station redevelopment project.
The stations will also be the first to have provisions for pre-determined user charges on passengers and visitors, as one of the main revenue streams for the concessionaire. The user development fees model will be used by the national transporter for the first time.
IRSDC will be leasing the land out for 60 years for commercial purposes and 99 years for residential.
The RFP for these four projects is under preparation and will be called shortly from the shortlisted applicants, according to IRSDC.
No land use change and prior environmental clearance is required for these projects as these are Railway projects under Railway Act 1989.
The above four Projects hold distinction of being the first railway projects to have in principle approval of Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC), formed by the Centre for PPP projects. These four stations are also the first ones to have provision of pre-determined user charges on passengers and visitors as one of the main revenue streams for the concessionaire of the redeveloped stations.
Railways had earlier also begun the formal process to allow private players to run trains on 109 route.
The contracts for five station redevelopment projects have already awarded by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) and NBCC India – Habibganj (Bhopal), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Gomti Nagar (Lucknow), Charbagh (Lucknow) and Puducherry. NBCC has already started work on the two Lucknow stations.
While Habibganj has been awarded under the Public-Private Participation (PP) mode, the other four stations have been awarded based on the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) mode.
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 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 private 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.