The Union government approved state-funded expansion of railway stations, including New Delhi’s main station, as well as upgrading of the Chennai airport, at a total cost of at least Rs7,400 crore.
The government cleared an Indian Railways plan to expand and modernize the railway station on a ‘fast-track’ basis in time for the Commonwealth Games, scheduled for 2010. The cost of the project is around Rs5,000 crore.
The committee decided the Airports Authority of India, or AAI, will modernize the Chennai airport. The overhaul will cost around Rs2,350 crore, nearly half of which will be used for constructing a runway and taxiways.
Addressing reporters after a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Committee on Infrastructure, railway minister Lalu Prasad said the ministry had received bids from six consultants, including Terry Farrell & Partners, Hong Kong, RITES, an Indian Railways subsidiary, and GMP International GmbH of Germany, for the New Delhi project, which is structured into multiple phases, the first of which ends in 2010.
“The modern railway stations will look like an airport. There will be separate arrival and departure terminals, and instead of overbridges, movement will be through underground,” the minister said.
Some 20 other stations will also be developed, including Agra, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Patna, Pune, Secunderabad and Thiruvananthapuram. The cost of these expansion was not immediately available.
The plan is to hand over around 80 hectares of land to the consortium that wins the tender on a long-term lease. Private players will be allowed to develop peripheral land and earn revenue, part of which can be used to fund the project.
This airport development decision makes Chennai the second metro airport to be expanded by AAI; Kolkata being the other one. New Delhi and Mumbai airports are being modernized by private consortia.