5 Mumbai Railway Stations to be Modernised by Private Players

NEW DELHI: The iconic Howrah station in Kolkata along with Mumbai Central and Chennai Central stations are among 23 identified for redevelopment by the private sector as the railways finally gets down to modernising the British-era facilities.

The maximum number of projects are expected to be in Mumbai where apart from Mumbai Central, Bandra, Borivli, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Kurla and Thane-which was the terminus for the first ever train in the country–are on the list.

The first private sector-driven redevelopment plan at Habibganj (near Bhopal) is expected to be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon, paving the way for the other projects. Sources said Bansal Construction, which will redevelop the station, has tied up for the funding which involves Rs 100 crore for redevelopment of the station and around Rs 300 crore for creation of other facilities. In addition, contracts for redevelopment of at least two stations in Delhi – Anand Vihar and Bijwasan – are expected to be finalised by March, sources told. Faridabad in the National Capital Region is also on the list for redevelopment.

While the government had cleared a plan to redevelop 44 stations last January , not much progress has taken place on the ground with the development of Gandhinagar having been kicked off earlier this month. But the development is not driven by the private sector and is instead through a special purpose vehicle with equity from the railways and the Gujarat government. With the railways moving slowly on getting private players, the state and the central government stepped in.

But now, officers said, things have been firmed up with the Boston Consulting Group conducting feasibility study for 55 stations and 23 are ready for award.

Sources said the cost of redevelopment is expected to be around Rs 4,000 crore and the government will earn at least Rs 4,000 crore as upfront fee from developers. Apart from modernising the railway station, the developer will also get the rights to develop surplus land near the station, including building of hotels and other facilities. The lease will be for 45 years. The overall investment is estimated to be around Rs 25,000 crore, a source said.

The idea is to get some of the stations up and running by the end of 2018 or early 2019. Indian Railways Station Development Corporation, a railways PSU, has been mandated to redevelop Surat, Chandigarh and Mohali stations.