New Delhi: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday launched the first phase of his ambitious station redevelopment project under which he plans to modernize 400 railway stations across the country by providing several passenger-friendly amenities.
These redeveloped stations would support digital signage, have escalators and elevators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways and holding areas for passengers, among other facilities.
The 23 stations shortlisted for the first phase include Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur City, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bengaluru Cantt., Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.
Also read: Railways unprepared for listing of units: Financial commissioner Shahzad Shah
The project of re-developing 400 A1 and A category stations in the country is the biggest non-fare revenue generating programme being undertaken by Indian Railways. The projects will be executed in a public-private-partnership (PPP) model through a fair bidding system.
Under the project the entire cost of redeveloping stations will be met by leveraging “commercial development of vacant separable land and air space in and around the station".
A senior railway ministry official, requesting anonymity, said under the first phase of the project Indian Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of encroachment-free land at these stations to the developers on a 45-year lease. “The phase is expected to be of approximately Rs6,000 to Rs9,000 crore in size," he said.
Also read: Railway autonomy has been killed, says Nitish Kumar
Railway ministry, in a statement, said that the program will provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to the private developers across top 100 cities of the country. A committee of eminent experts would be formed to provide suggestions to zonal Railways on proposals submitted by bidders in addition to the technical and financial committee recommendations.
Commercial potential of this vacant Railway land at/near stations will be leveraged to develop world-class stations with no additional funding required from the Railways. The program is expected to generate a surplus in excess of Rs10,000 crore for Indian Railways which can be invested in other modernization projects.