Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled the first phase of the Station Redevelopment Programme on Wednesday. Further, tenders are being floated for 23 out of a total of 400 stations set to get a facelift under this programme.
The entire programme is estimated to attract investment of up to Rs 1 lakh crore by developers and it is estimated that the Railways will generate a surplus of Rs 10,000 crore which can be invested in other modernisation programmes.
“This is the largest transit-oriented development programme ever executed in India and perhaps in the world,” Chairman Railway Board, A K Mittal, said at the launch.“ The most valuable real estate anywhere in the country is where there is a railway station where there is a captive audience. Stations have a huge commercial value by virtue of the fact that so many people use it.
The challenge is how to monetise this invaluable asset and generate money for Railways and provide amenities for passengers,” said Prabhu. Stations being modernised in this phase include Lokmanya Tilak, Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Ranchi, Chennai Central, Kozhikode, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt, Bhopal, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore.
The Railway Minister said that there has been immense interest globally in the station modernisation plan. “We have discussed this project with most of the pension funds in the world and a multilateral agency like World Bank who are very keen to participate in this project,” he said.
The financial model for redevelopment work across stations has been devised in a way that the government doesn’t incur any expenditure as the developer would be rebuilding the railway stations and maintaining it for 15 years.
In return, the developer would be granted 45 years’ leasing rights for the commercial properties developed at these stations. These properties could be malls, hotels, hospitals, among others.
The stations are being awarded to private developers under the so-called Swiss challenge method, which involves inviting a proposal online and allowing rival bidders to beat that proposal.
Revamped stations will have digital signage, escalators, elevators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, free and paid WiFi, etc.
The programme is likely to benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country.