New Delhi: The Indian Railways has chosen Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh as the first under its redevelopment project, which has been allotted to a consortium of Bhopal-based Bansal Construction and Indore-based Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India) Ltd.
The railway ministry plans to redevelop 400 stations across the country. The project involves modernisation and upgradation of passenger amenities at stations by raising money through commercial development of railway land at these stations.
For the Habibganj station, railways had shortlisted three developers—a consortium of Bansal Construction and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways, GMR Group and Ahluwalia Contracts India Ltd (ACIL)—based on technical bids, after which financial bids were opened, according to the Indian Railway Stations Development Corp. Ltd (IRSDC)—a joint venture between IRCON International Ltd and Rail Land Development Authority, created to oversee such projects.
S.K. Lohia, chief executive officer of IRSDC, said the project would cost around Rs.450 crore and a letter of acceptance has been given to the developer last week. The contractor has to deposit Rs.30 crore and start work on the project within a month from the date of issuance of the letter, he added.
The contractor was selected through the so-called normal bidding process of awarding contracts, said a senior ministry official on condition of anonymity, adding that the process took more than a year to finalize.
The official said that in lieu of the project, the developer has sought 38 acres of land on 45 years’ lease. “It was a problem initially as the land was with railway for 30 years lease and it would expire this year. However, when Madhya Pradesh government was approached to extend the lease, they agreed to do so at a payment of Rs.23 lakh,” the official said.
The idea of setting up world-class railway stations was first introduced in the 2009-10 railway budget by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee. She had then announced redevelopment of 50 stations, including Habibganj. Though initial studies were carried out in 2010, it was only in 2015 that it was revived by railway minister Suresh Prabhu.
In his 2015-16 budget, Prabhu announced the station redevelopment programme under which 400 railway stations were to be redeveloped by inviting open bids. Under the project, the entire cost of redeveloping stations is to be met by leveraging “commercial development of vacant separable land and air space in and around the station”.