New Delhi: Indian Railways has decided to appoint its joint venture company Indian Railway Station Development Corp. Ltd (IRSDC) as the nodal agency for its ambitious station redevelopment programme, in an attempt to expedite the revamp of 400 A1 and A category railway stations.
Under the Rs1 trillion station redevelopment plan, Indian Railways plans to revamp 400 railway stations by monetizing 2,700 acres of spare railway land.
The Railway Board took the decision to appoint IRSDC, a joint-venture firm of Ircon International Ltd and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), following recommendations by a three-member expert committee, according to people in the railway ministry.
The committee, comprising the railway board secretary, advisor station redevelopment and executive director station re-development, submitted its report in November.
In the report, the committee suggested that IRSDC should be appointed the nodal one-stop point for smooth and faster implementation of station redevelopment as IRSDC’s model projects like Habibganj, Gandhinagar and Surat have shown remarkable results.
The committee also said in future, the mode of implementation of new railway station projects should be at the discretion of IRSDC, while existing projects should also be brought within its ambit for monitoring purposes.
It said the company had vast experience of station redevelopment planning, execution and monitoring, which is not available with other departments and officers of the railway ministry.
Confirming the move, a senior railway ministry official said on condition of anonymity, “Yes, the decision has been taken and it will be communicated to IRSDC soon. The modalities have been worked out and company will be given power to ensure all kinds of execution works."
The railway ministry has used a number of models and arrangements for station redevelopment so far including those by IRSDC, by general managers of zonal railways in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, in cooperation with Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) in cities with SMART & AMRUT schemes, by Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC)— through RLDA and public sector units (PSUs) of the ministry of railways, through other ministries, in partnership with state governments, and also through interest shown by foreign governments and firms.
“The different models resulted in overlapping of work and decisions leading to chaos and tardy progress of the project. With one nodal agency, things will be more streamlined," said another railway official, requesting anonymity. Queries emailed to the railway ministry last week remained unanswered.
IRSDC managing director S.K. Lohia said, “We haven’t received any communication yet."
The plan to redevelop railway stations was mooted in 2009-10 by the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee and was taken forward by railway minister Piyush Goyal’s predecessor Suresh Prabhu.
According to consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the total project cost for the revamp of 400 stations will be around Rs107,000 crore.
Of this, Rs28,000 crore will be for station redevelopment, Rs68,000 crore for commercial development and the remaining Rs11,000 crore would be surplus with the Railways following monetization of land.