Indian Railways’ much-awaited railway station redevelopment project is finally set to get off the ground.
The first railway station to be revamped under the ambitious project is Habibganj in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. And the redevelopment will start by the end of this week.
According to a report, Indian Railways will also float tenders for 23 more stations that are to be redeveloped, including Pune, Howrah, Kanpur Central, Chennai Central, and Bandra Terminus among others, on the day of initiation of the project. The financial closure for the PPP (Public Private Partnership) project has already been achieved by Bansal Pathways Habibganj, a special purpose entity (SPE) comprising of Bansal Construction Works, Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India). The estimated cost of Habibganj station redevelopment is Rs. 100 crore and the that for commercial redevelopment is Rs. 350 crore. The land will be allotted to the SPE for a period of 45 years with a maintenance right for 15 years. The core operations like signalling, track maintenance and running of trains will remain with the railway authorities. The redevelopment work is said to take about two years for completion.
Railways is trying to speed up the proposed redevelopment project involving 400 stations in the country. It was the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC), which anchored the Habibganj station bidding process, but Railways will also tie up with various players in different models of engagements like award of work to foreign governments, special purpose vehicles with states, direct tie-ups with PSUs for redeveloping these stations, etc. The project involves modernising and upgrading passenger amenities. The Indian Railways’ official website states that the indicative facilities include:
- Iconic structures with state-of-the-art facilities.
- Congestion free non-conflicting entry and exit to the station premises.
- Segregation of arrival/departure of passengers.
- Integration with other modes of public/private transport systems like bus, metro, etc.
- All essential facilities at concourse like catering, small retail, washrooms, cloak rooms, drinking water, ATM, pharmacy and internet.
- User-friendly international signage understandable by all sections of passengers.
- Additional facilities like retail, shopping, hospitality, food courts etc.
- Medical facilities
- Green Buildings, with optimum use of natural ventilation & lighting