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The Gandhinagar railway station will have a concourse above the railway tracks. Photo: HT
The Gandhinagar railway station will have a concourse above the railway tracks. Photo: HT

Gandhinagar railway station set to get a glitzy makeover

Gandhinagar railway station in Gujarat is set to be jazzed up soon with a 300-room hotel planned to be built in the space above the railway tracks, a first in India

New Delhi: Gandhinagar railway station in Gujarat is set to be jazzed up soon with a 300-room hotel planned to be built in the space above the railway tracks, a first in India that would it take to the ranks of cities in Japan and Germany.

As envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the railway station in the capital city of his home state will also have a concourse above the railway tracks.

This redevelopment project undertaken by the Gujarat government in partnership with Indian Railways (with 74% and 26% equity, respectively), is the second under the railway station redevelopment program of the Indian Railway Stations Development Corp. Ltd (IRSDC). The first project is coming up at Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh where a concourse would be developed above the railway tracks.

IRSDC is a special purpose vehicle formed by railway unit Ircon International Ltd (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and is currently undertaking projects in Habibganj, Bijwasan, Anand Vihar and Surat railway stations.

The idea is to put the city of Gandhinagar on the global stage and develop it as a commercial city in itself. The railway station is close to the upcoming Mahatma Mandir convention centre and memorial, which, spread across 34 acres, will showcase the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

“The project is being outsourced on Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) model and the government had received five bids for it. The bidders included ILFS, L&T, Tata Projects, Cub Constructions and Kunal constructions where Kunal won the bid and is constructing the project," said Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, chairman and managing director at IRSDC.

Lohia added that this project is a first for India as no such project has been conceptualized or built in the country so far. “The prime minister wanted a railway station that could showcase the changing face of Indian railway stations and transforming them into commercial hubs," he said.

Indian Railways has adopted three models for station redevelopment. Under public private partnerships, a project is planned, statutory clearances are obtained and a developer is chosen to upgrade a facility which is being implemented by IRSDC. The second model is collaboration with foreign governments to develop stations and the third is the Swiss Challenge model, where bidders design and develop a project after obtaining approvals.

Under Swiss Challenge, the company whose project plan is accepted is given the opportunity to work on the project at the price quoted by the lowest bidder. If it does not accept this, the project is given to the lowest bidder.

Indian Railways has been working on an ambitious plan to redevelop 400 A1 and A category railway stations. The plan was mooted in 2009-10 by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee and is now being taken forward by current railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

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