Surat to see Rs 4,650-crore Railway Station redevelopment

A joint venture for undertaking the project will be formed soon, according to the source

SURAT: Indian Railways (IR) will be tying up with the state government and the local body to pool land belonging to all three, a first. The redeveloped station is intended as a multi-model transport hub, with train, commuter rail and bus connectivity. The project is likely to be commissioned by December 2018.

 “The redevelopment plan will be announced soon. We are expecting an expense of Rs 1 crore a sq ft. The money will be put in by the government,” said an official.

About Rs 650 crore would be spend on station redevelopment. The other Rs 4,000 crore would be to develop a commercial complex connected to the multi-modal transport hub.

“A joint venture for undertaking the project will be formed soon,” said the source.

Earlier, the government had invited global bids for the station but got lukewarm response. For the revised project, a concept design has been made by architects C P Kukreja Associates. IR is likely to form a joint venture for this with the state government and local bodies, the area to be developed on a revenue-sharing model. Last year, a memorandum of understanding was signed between IR, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation and Surat Municipal Corporation in this regard.

The plan is for the railways to hold 63 per cent stake in the project, the state government about 34 per cent and the remaining three per cent by the local body.

By the plan, the redeveloped stations will provide amenities like digital signage, escalators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, restaurants, malls, theatres and Wi-Fi.

“This is going to change the face of Surat; we want to make it (the station) one of the largest in Asia. The 140-metre building will be the tallest in the city. A 300-room five-star hotel will be attached to it,” the official added. For the hotel, operational rights have already been given to the Leela group.

Earlier, the Wanda group from China had shown interest in both Gandhinagar and Surat stations but the smaller size (around Rs 400 crore each) of the then designed projects had made it less lucrative for global majors. This was after roadshows in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Railway Board had reviewed its redevelopment policy after tepid responses from companies for the 23 stations put for bidding in February 2017. On an average redevelopment of a station is expected to cost Rs 400 crore; major ones as in Delhi and Mumbai could see investment up to Rs 15,000 crore.

IR Station Revamp: Investors may have to leave room for Multi Level Platforms

Firms bagging contracts to redevelop railway stations may have to design construction in such a way that the national transporter’s plan for multi-level platforms at some of the busiest stations are not pre-empted.

NEW DELHI: Firms bagging contracts to redevelop railway stations may have to design construction in such a way that the national transporter’s plan for multi-level platforms at some of the busiest stations are not pre-empted. While the railway ministry is in the process of making the tender terms for station development more attractive by dumping the Swiss challenge model that has come a cropper, it is keen that future commercial/ real estate development around the stations doesn’t cripple the core function of the transporter. Multi-level platforms will allow more tracks at stations, decongesting traffic and providing more room for trains to halt.

The utilisation of air space at stations should allow building of new tracks above the existing ones, an official said. According to the sources, the suggestion that station redevelopers must not hamper the multi-level platforms was made by railway minister Piyush Goyal during his interaction with stakeholders of the station redevelopment programme earlier this month. “Rail-on-rail may be a possibility,” said a source, adding that the observation by the minister was made keeping an eye on future requirements.

The DK Mittal committee in a report submitted in December 2014 had suggested multi-level tracks. It had argued that yards in main cities experience congestion due to large movements of trains resulting in delays. The suggestion to get over the problem included “stations at the peripheries of the cities” as in Paris and “multi-layered paths/tracks to eliminate the conflicting movements” as in Zurich City.

IR has one of the largest and busiest rail networks across the world which operates more than 20,000 trains per day including over 12,500 passenger trains in addition to 7,000-plus freight trains. It ferries over 23 million passengers every day from across more than 7,000 railway stations and transports around 3 million tonne of freight daily. This is despite the fact that the share of railways in passenger transportation segment is now just 10% today compared with around 74% in 1951. During the same period, freight movement reduced from 74% to 33%.

The Mittal-headed committee had noted: “More than 55% of the traffic moves on the golden quadrilateral and its diagonals, connecting the four metropolitan cities, which constitute less than 20% of the total IR network. More than two-thirds of this high density network sections have utilisation of over 100%.”

The minister’s suggestion is likely to be included in the fresh tenders to be floated for the revamped station redevelopment programme. As reported earlier, given the lukewarm response by developers, the railways has decided to do away with the Swiss Challenge method under which the proposal made by the original proponent is opened to third parties to make better offers in terms of time and cost efficiency and then the original proponent is asked to counter-match the improved offer, if any.

The process will be replaced by simpler and less time-consuming single parameter bid process which will be formulated by the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation, an agency of the transporter. Under the new framework, the railways will be obtaining initial approval on overall master plan for redevelopment of few stations.

.

Railways may unlock prime Residential Property soon

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways may soon unlock its prime residential property across the country for redevelopment, a move that could bring in additional revenue of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore for the national transporter.

The Railways owns real estate in all major cities and has swathes of residential property in Connaught Place, Nizamuddin and Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, apart from land in the heart of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. The plan is to grant 99-year leases to developers making compelling offers for such land, a senior Railway Board official said.

The ministry has asked all 17 zonal offices to compile details of residential land that can be redeveloped and offered to investors. The Railways has over 40,000 hectares of land, of which almost 950 hectares has been encroached upon.

Work on the plan to unlock railway real estate for commercial development was started during Suresh Prabhu’s tenure as minister. Now, with Piyush Goyal taking his place, the project is being implemented with renewed interest.

“We have huge residential colonies spread across the country. Railways, through builders, can redevelop the area by constructing multi-storey buildings and towers. Whatever is needed for railway requirement can be kept aside, remaining towers could be leased out,” the official said.

Goyal took up the issue of redeveloping and unlocking railway land at a meeting with real estate companies last month.

The Railways is looking at the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) model. NBCC redevelops government colonies by making high-rise buildings and commercial complexes and leases part of the property to private parties, setting aside some units for government use.

“We could have a similar model. The Railway Land Development Authority will be the nodal agency for all land redevelopment projects, whereas the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corp. will oversee the redevelopment of railway stations,” the official added. The station redevelopment project envisages building of apartments on land adjoining railway stations. The Railways is bidding out 23 stations for such redevelopment.

Railway Stations Revamp: New PPP Model has more for Investors; IRSDC to play critical role

A revamped public-private partnership (PPP) model to redevelop railway stations will see more attractive terms for private investors while Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) — will play a critical role, official sources told. In the new contracts, the lease term might be raised to 99 years from the current 45 years while residential premises could be a part of the assets created.

NEW DELHI: A revamped public-private partnership (PPP) model to redevelop railway stations will see more attractive terms for private investors while Indian Railways’ (IR) agency — Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) — will play a critical role, official sources told. In the new contracts, the lease term might be raised to 99 years from the current 45 years while residential premises could be a part of the assets created.

Horeover, developers would be allowed to give multiple sub-leases rather than just one. “These were three sticking points for developers. We are going to approach the Railway Board stating that the current process will be foreclosed and to come up with a fresh approach,” said the official.

The Indian Railways’ redevelopment plan is being revisited as the “Swiss challenge” bidding process evoked only lukewarm interest. With the changes on the anvil, the transporter would roll back the tenders already floated for redevelopment of 23 stations, the sources added.

The contracts, which have already been awarded — in the case of Habibganj station — won’t be annulled but all other cases, including those where final bids have been received (Jammu Tawi and Kozikhode), would be suspended and re-evaluated.

IRSDC has been asked to devise a new single-stage, single-parameter bid process for station redevelopment which will be sent for Cabinet’s approval within two months, another official said.  In addition, it will now lead the redevelopment process and start redevelopment of some 15 A1 and A category station as test cases in order to instill confidence among developers. The railways will either use its own finances or raise debt to redevelop the test-case stations, with estimated investment of Rs 6,000-8,000 crore.

Under the station redevelopment plan approved by the Cabinet in July 2015, a total of  400 stations were to be revamped. The project envisaged land areas of 2,700 acres to be redeveloped and a cost of Rs 68,000 crore for commercial development and Rs 28,000 crore for revamp of the stations.

The redevelopment, as per the now-abandoned plan, was to be on ‘as is where is’ basis, through open invitation from interested parties with their designs and business ideas. These stations were to be developed by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around the stations.

Under the Swiss Challenge method, an unsolicited offer is made by the original proponent to the railways ensuring her process to be best (in terms of effectiveness including both the factors cost and time). It further allows third parties to make better offers (challenges) for a project during a designated period with simple objective to discourage frivolous project, or to avoid exaggerated project development costs. Then, the original proponent gets the right to counter-match any superior offers given by the third party.

As against this, in the new model being worked out, IRSDC will provide a detailed project report and outline the specifications which developers will have to follow, as in turnkey projects. It will de-risk the projects by taking all approvals before auctioning the stations unlike the earlier as-is-where-is method wherein developers were required to take all approvals.

“The railway minister has directed that IRSDC should be beefed up to take up bulk of the work. It may make some investments first and then auction the projects,” said the railway official quoted above.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal recently held a meeting with leading developers including Tata Realty, L&T, GMR, Shapoorji Pallonji and Essel Infra, among others, who also asked that railways should indemnify issues arising out of “change in law” for developers to be comfortable to submit bids. The new bidding process, to be created by IRSDC, is expected to factor this in.

Developers have asked an integrated plan for connectivity– roads or monorails–with the redeveloped stations as some of the stations are in congested areas which may not attract tenants for the commercial projects.

.

Railways set to double Lease Tenure for station upgrades

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is set to more than double the lease tenure under the station redevelopment programme—raising it to 99 years from 45—in an effort to make the scheme more attractive for investors whose response has so far been only lukewarm.

A top Railway Board official told ET that the decision was taken in a recent meeting called by railway minister Piyush Goyal to review measures aimed at securing private investment in the cash-strapped national carrier.

“The long contract period will make it lucrative for private players to invest in small stations as well,” the official said, requesting anonymity. “Investors will also be allowed to commercially utilise space on the platforms.”

The railways is offering up to 400 stations to private entities in, what it has called, the biggest station redevelopment programme in the world. The scheme envisages a minimum investment of Rs 1 lakh crore.

Under the scheme, companies winning the bids will have to modernise the stations and provide world-class passenger amenities, for which they will, in return, get the ancillary land on lease for 99 years. The companies can build malls, hotels and other commercial complexes on the land to recover their investment.

It is also working on a plan to secure the infrastructure project status for station redevelopment, which will enable the developers get easy and economical loans from banks.

The stations will be awarded under the Swiss challenge method, where a proposal is invited online and rivals can offer counter-bids. The method cuts the long-drawn tendering process currently used by the railways.

An expert committee will accept the best proposal and the original proposer will get an opportunity to match it.

A senior railway official said the 99-year lease offer will make it the longest tenure for any public-private partnership project in the country.

“In the rail ministry’s consultations with stakeholders, several big infrastructure companies were willing to invest in stations in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru,” this official said. “However, there were no takers for small stations.”

The railways is also planning to bring in a revenue sharing agreement with the concessionaire, where the latter will have to share some revenue with the railways every year.

Firms vie to give Pune Railway station a face-lift on Swiss Challenge Model

Pune station is among the 23 railway stations, which are scheduled to be revamped along the lines of a ‘Swiss Challenge’ model. The ‘Swiss Challenge’ model of bidding is different than the conventional process. It allows the entity, which submitted the unsolicited bid itself, to match or better the best bid that comes out of the Swiss process.

PUNE: Six national and foreign infrastructure firms are vying to get the contract for redevelopment of the Pune railway station under the ‘Swiss Challenge’ model, the decision on which will be declared in a few months, said officials. Several bidders have approached the officials in the Pune Division and the Railway Board for the contract. Earnst and Young, which is appointed as an advisory firm, is in touch with the prospective bidders.

Pune station is among the 23 railway stations, which are scheduled to be revamped along the lines of a ‘Swiss Challenge’ model. The second phase of a mega modernisation programme is slated to kick off later this month. Passengers may soon get to enjoy “airport-like facilities”, said an official.

The Railway Board has identified 15 key parametres, including separate arrival and departure terminals, easy connectivity with local modes of transportation, such as bus or Metro, and accessibility from both sides of the city. Facilities such as food courts, retail outlets and medical facilities will also be made available.

“The project is getting good response from the infrastructure firms. As many as six companies have approahed us, in Pune and Delhi. Most of the work is being handled from Delhi. We have a liasoning officer in Pune too,” said a senior official in Pune Division.

The ‘Swiss Challenge’ model of bidding is different than the conventional process. It allows the entity, which submitted the unsolicited bid itself, to match or better the best bid that comes out of the Swiss process.

“Under the project, real estate development of land and air space belonging to the railways will be done. The private partner can exploit the space for commercial purposes. Redevelopment is on ‘as is where is’, through open invitation from interested parties with their designs and ideas,” said officials.

Officials added that the estimated cost of redevelopment of Pune railway station is 200 crore. The other stations scheduled for remodelling include Thane, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai Central, Bandra and Borivali.

IRSDC and Govt of Gujarat forms SPV for development of Gandhinagar Railway Station

The initiative to redevelop Gandhinagar Railway Station in the international standards, duly reflecting the essence of thoughts and historical events pertaining to father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been formed by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC) with Government of Gujarat (GoG) with equity contribution as 24% that of IRSDC and 76% of GoG. The SPV is developing Gandhinagar station having architecture in harmony with adjoining Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer. The SPV shall be responsible for operation & maintenance of station, hotel and will have revenue streams from Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer as well.

A works contract for approximately ₹147 Crore for redevelopment of Gandhinagar station along with construction of a 300 room-hotel on the air space of the station has been awarded and ground-breaking done. Pile foundation is going on at site. Also, agreement for Project Management Consultant (PMC) has been signed between Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) and Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation Limited (GARUD) on 14.07.2017. A work of cost ₹ 243.6 Crore is sanctioned by Railway for this and ₹ 40 Crore have been allocated this year.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 26.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Scheme to offer over 144 Acres of Land to Developers

The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development. The developers would be selected via competitive bidding, marking the first phase of the scheme under which surplus/vacant land with over 400 stations are to be redeveloped. As many as 18 of the 23 projects will come go under the hammer in the current financial year. “The tenders will be opened gradually over July onwards which will be finalised by April-May 2018,” said a railway official requesting not to be named.

While there are some stations that will offer as little as 1.6 acres (Chennai Central) for commercial redevelopment, there are others including Yesvantpur (20 acres), Udaipur City (10.7 acres) and Howrah (10 acres) that will offer huge plots for commercial use. Large infrastructure companies such as Tata Realty and Infrastructure, GMR, Essel Infra, IL&FS and a few Malaysian companies are actively looking to participate in the programme and some of them are already working on-ground to prepare bids. Last week, the secretary general (works), government of Malaysia, Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob — who is also the nodal officer for projects investment in India — led a delegation along with the Malaysian high commissioner in India and held a meeting with railway officials regarding station redevelopment.

The meeting was to reinforce the commitment of the government of Malaysia to ensure a visible participation of experienced Malaysian developers in railway station redevelopment projects to enhance bilateral trade and stronger cooperation on both sides for sustainable infrastructure development.

According to the official quoted above, all 25 tenders (23 being planned plus Anand Vihar and Brijwasan which have been delayed due to land issues), would be opened by September. While work on the Habibganj and Gandhinagar projects has already started, the Indian Railways awarded the contract for Jammu Tawi railway station last week and that for Kozhikode has been just awarded. In addition, the request for proposal for Surat railway station is expected to be floated within a week.

In terms of stations that will be redeveloped, a total of 2,700 acre will be reconstructed for the 400 stations that have been identified and more than 200 acres will be redeveloped in the first phase comprising 23 stations. Under the scheme, a developer needs to create a concept proposal which takes six-eight weeks and an investment of Rs 1.5-2 crore.

For stations receiving multiple bids, one will be chosen taking into account technical as well financial proposals under the Swiss challenge method. There are two railway committees which will evaluate proposals which will be evaluated on a scale of 100. Separately, an independent committee will look at the scores given to each proposal. Subsequently, the general managers of the zone concerned will look at the recommendations of all the three committees and select one concept for DPR purpose.

“Even if no developers comes in at the challenge stage, the railways will be at least be assured of the premium mentioned in the DPR,” added the official. The railways is expecting that the total cost of commercial development for 400 stations will be Rs 68,000 crore while that for station redevelopment will be Rs 28,000 crore, and in addition it is likely to get Rs 11,000 crore as premium.

Station Redevelopment on ‘as-is-where-is’ basis by leveraging Real Estate space at A1/A Category Stations: MOSR

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has advertised its plan to offer ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations on ‘as is where is’ basis for redevelopment by inviting proposals from interested parties with their designs and business ideas. The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the station.

A large number of Foreign Railways have shown keen interest in the stations redevelopment program and an agreement has been signed with the French Railway (SNCF) for joint study on Renovation Concept Design of Ambala and Ludhiana stations. Korean railway has also expressed interest in the redevelopment of New Delhi Station. Governments of Belgium, Germany, China and UK have also expressed interest in the program of station redevelopment.

No, Madam. Since Railways is taking up Station Redevelopment in a big way (about 400 ‘A-1’ & ‘A’ category stations), cooperation with foreign countries/companies does not pose any problem to indigenous companies/firms. The companies/firms can also partner with foreign companies for adapting best International practices and technology transfer. All the station redevelopment is through open bidding process only.

The facilities proposed in a redeveloped station include congestion-free non-conflicting entry/exit to the station premises, segregation of arrival/departure of passengers, adequate concourse without overcrowding, integration of both sides of the city wherever feasible, integration with other modes of transport systems e.g. Bus, Metro, etc., user friendly international signage, well illuminated circulating area and sufficient provision for drop off, pick up and parking etc.

The cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of vacant land/air space in and around the station. Therefore, railway funds are not required for station redevelopment projects. Such projects shall generally be cost neutral to Railways.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

World’s largest Railway Station Redevelopment Program of IR aimed at Redeveloping 400 Stations through PPP Model

NEW DELHI: Railway Board has devised an innovative Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Program and the plan is to provide various improved world-class amenities to Railway passengers at all the nominated 400 Railway Stations through PPP model by leveraging the real estate available at the railway stations. With an overall size of 1 lakh crore, the program is one of the largest PPP program undertaken in the country. The program will provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to the private developers across top 100 cities of the country.

The redeveloped stations will provide amenities and services to the passengers in line with best in class railway stations. The stations will be redeveloped through public-private-partnership (PPP) model without straining Railways’ finances. The redeveloped stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like digital signage, escalators / elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi etc. The program will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country. Moreover, the commercial development undertaken near the stations will become nerve centers of the city and provide quality retail, commercial and hospitality development.

A committee of eminent experts would be formulated 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 ₹ 10,000 Crore for the Indian Railways which can be invested in other modernization projects. Select high potential stations will be made as iconic stations and will be developed as per highest global standards and design norms.

To maximize commercial potential of the public assets, Indian Railways plans to bid out the projects through a transparent and competitive method. Taking cue from global best practices, Indian Railways has adopted the so called “modified Swiss challenge” methodology for the bidding process.

Indian Railways has reached out to the private developers and investors through road shows in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Abu Dhabi to gauge market interest and receive feedback on the bidding process. Railway Board has also engaged with the zonal railways through multiple workshops to accurately assess land availability.

After the first phase, 100+ stations are expected to be launched in Phase 2 and the remaining A1 and A stations will be launched in Phase 3 of this program.

Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of encroachment free land at these stations to the developers on a 45 year lease. Indian Railways has also appointed nodal officers in each zone to ensure smooth interactions with the developers. The phase is expected to be of approximately ₹ 6000 -9,000 Crore in size. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is the strategic advisor for this program and based on the commercial assessment conducted by them and several rounds of discussions held with the developers and zonal railways, Indian Railways team is confident that the round will generate sufficient market interest.

Malaysian Delegation expresses interest in India’s Station Redevelopment Program 

In connection with Station Redevelopment Program, Malaysian Delegation visited Rail Bhavan today i.e. 18th July, 2017 and had a meeting with the senior officials of Railway Board. In the meeting, Malaysian Delegation has shown their interest in redeveloping 07 stations out of 23 stations which are Udaipur City, Indore, Howrah, Faridabad, Secunderabad, Bandra and Pune open for bidding. In the first phase, 23 stations will be bid out some of which includes Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur City, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt., Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.

The Secretary General Works Government of Malaysia Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob, who is also Nodal Officer for Projects investment in India, led delegation along with High Commissioner of Malaysia in India attended meeting at Rail Bhawan.

9 countries in the race for Stations Redevelopment program

South Korea, Germany, UK, France, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Canada and Belgium are the nine countries which have shown interest in joining the Indian Railways’ ambitious station redevelopment programme across the country.

Railways have earmarked about 400-plus major stations for redevelopment to provide world-class passenger amenities involving investment of more than Rs 1 lakh crore in PPP model.

There has been immense interest globally in the station redevelopment plan and many countries have expressed keenness to join the programme, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the redevelopment project.

The redevelopment of stations envisage commercial exploitation of vacant land and air space in and around stations.

There would be malls, hotels, multiplex, parking lots, eateries and other business activities on rail premises while at the same time many passenger-related facilities at stations would be upgraded.

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.

While China is keen to develop Jhansi and Agra stations, South Korea has expressed interest in making New Delhi station a world class station.

France has agreed to redevelop Ludhiana and Ambala stations on Delhi-Chandigarh route.

Canada has shown interest in upgrading a few stations in Mumbai while Malaysia is keen to develop Howrah, Secunderabad, Udaipur, Faridabad, Indore and Pune stations.

The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of vacant separable land and air space in and around the station.

Railways, which has not seen any major infrastructure development for long, have finalised plans for investment of at least Rs 8 lakh crore in the next five years to modernise the public transporter which still moved the bulk of the output from coal pits, cement silos, and steel factories.

For the current financial year, railways have earmarked Rs 1.31 lakh crore for capital expenditure.

Malaysian firms eye Rs.5000 Crore station makeover kitty in 1st big FDI boost for IR

NEW DELHI: In potentially the first big FDI in railways, Malaysia’s state-owned Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will participate in the auction for redevelopment of Udaipur, Howrah, Indore, Secunderabad, Pune and Faridabad railway stations.

The estimated cost of redevelopment of these stations would be Rs 5,000 crore, a top rail ministry official said. CIDB Holding Malaysia has written to the Railway Board, saying it would participate in the ongoing Swiss challenge bidding process of these shortlisted stations on behalf of Malaysian companies.

The letter from CIDB Holding Malaysia chairman Judin Abdul Karim, dated June 17, did not disclose names of Malaysian companies that would be participating. Indian Railways had held a road show in Malaysia in March this year to showcase Investment opportunities in India’s rail sector.

The Malaysian board had earlier sought station redevelopment contracts through nomination route, but the railways asked it to participate in the Swiss challenge auction to win contracts as India does not allow nomination route, said the official cited earlier.

In 2014, India allowed 100% FDI in railways through automatic route. So far, foreign firms have established two rail loco factories in Bihar with a total investment of Rs 3,500 crore. Malaysian investment in station redevelopment could mark the first major foreign investment in the operations side of railways. The railway official said that various
Japanese and South Korean investors have also expressed interest in station redevelopment projects. Indian Railways has lined up 400 stations for redevelopment.

Malaysian investment in station redevelopment could mark the first major foreign investment in the operations side of railways. The railway official said that various Japanese and South Korean investors have also expressed interest in station redevelopment projects.

Railways will hold Roadshows abroad to showcase the financial robustness of the Stations Redevelopment scheme

Indian Railways has already received inquiries from Switzerland, the UAE, Kuwait, Slovakia, Malaysia and Japan, and the carrier has also reached out to the foreign embassies in India requesting them to market the plan in their own countries.

NEW DELHI: Enthused by the response received from overseas developers for the station redevelopment programme, the Indian Railways will hold roadshows abroad to showcase the financial robustness of the scheme and attract more investors. “The railway minister has asked us to do roadshows abroad. We have to decide the nations we should visit,” said an official from the ministry of railways requesting anonymity.

The Indian Railways is aggressively pursuing redevelopment of 400-plus stations across the country, providing world-class passenger amenities. The plan will be executed by leasing out railway land to private developers for a period of 45 years, and in turn developers will commercialise the land parcels, redevelop stations and maintain them for 15 years. At present, the national carrier has put out a list of 23 stations for bidding.

The official, however, added that the roadshows may not be done for the current lot on offer.

The railways has seen keen interest from Malaysian companies and one company has already submitted bid against request for quotation for Surat railway station. The Malaysian developers are been led by Construction Industry Development Board, a Malaysian agency established to promote, improve and expand the country’s construction industry.

The Malaysian developers have also indicated interest for a basket of 20-30 stations beyond the 23 on offer right now. The railways has asked them to participate in at least 4-6 current projects on offer before a concept for basket offering can emerge.

“They will do detailed project report for say 20 stations. Then to bring in transparency, we may get it Swiss challenged in the market. If they meet the challenge, they will get it. This will ensure transparency as well we will get the fair price,” added the official.

Though the contours of such an arrangement is still to be done, Malaysian developers have impressed that they can get key EPC firms from the UAE, Kuwait and Turkey to participate in the projects.

Meanwhile, the railways will again approach the state governments to identify stations they would like to develop through partnership. Under the planned method, railway entity such as RLDA or IRSDC, which are authorised to develop land, will partner with one of the state companies and together they will redevelop stations which the state governments want. “These could be any station beyond the ones we have identified depending on its local importance—religious, tourism,” added the official.

Railways to offer 20 Stations to Malaysia for Redevelopment

A long term partnership will be forged with Malaysia on a government-to-government basis for offering about 20 stations to the southeast country, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is firming up plans to join hands with Malaysia to redevelop about 20 stations in Tier-II cities across the country.

Aimed at attracting nearly Rs 1 lakh crore private investment, the station redevelopment project envisages infrastructure revamp at platforms and circulating areas.

It also entails commercial exploitation of station areas for constructing hotels, eateries, multiplexes, shopping malls and office complex among others for the use of developers for a period of 45 years.

For facilitating growth of Tier II cities, the Centre, state and local governments provide a lot of support to transform these not so big cities into business havens and making them India’s fastest growing cities.

While cities like Delhi and Mumbai are in Tier-I category, cities such as Faridabad, Cuttack, Amritsar, Jamshedpur, Kochi, Jammu, and Bikaner are considered Tier-II cities.

A long term partnership will be forged with Malaysia on a government-to-government basis for offering about 20 stations to the southeast country, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Railways have already launched the ambitious project offering about 400 stations to be redeveloped in PPP model envisaging investment of about Rs 1 lakh crore.

In the first phase, 23 railway stations including the iconic Howrah station, Mumbai Central and Chennai Central have been selected for the project which aims to make the best use of the assets of the stations.

A meeting was recently held with Malaysian officials where they showed keen interest in the station redevelopment project.

While Malaysia is participating in the bidding process for 23 stations, the railways are mulling to offer about 20 stations separately involving about Rs 10,000 crore investment on a government-to-government partnership basis, the official added.

The long term partnership scheme in station redevelopment project with Malaysia will be launched after getting Cabinet approval.

Other stations being modernised in the first phase include Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Kamakhya, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Ranchi, Kozhikode, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt, Bhopal, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore.

Bhopal station has already been awarded to a developer for redevelopment.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate the start of the work at an estimated cost of Rs 450 crore involving construction of hotel, hospital, parking lot, office and restaurant at the station premises.

The developer will hold the rights for commercial exploitation of the land for a period of 45 years, while ownership of the land would remain with the railways.

IRSDC in talks with Malaysia’s state-owned CIDB for 20-plus stations upgrade

CIDB already has an MoU with India’s IRCON International Ltd to develop Railway infrastructure in India

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways Stations Redevelopment Corporation has received a shot in the arm with Malaysia’s state-owned Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) showing interest to redevelop at least 20 stations across the country.

“We have been working with Malaysia and have done some roadshows. They have expressed interest in our programme,” a railway ministry official said. CIDB was established by Malaysia to promote, improve and expand the country’s construction industry, among other functions.

The railway ministry plans to redevelop 400-plus major stations across the country to provide world-class passenger amenities. This will be done by leasing out railway land to private developers for 45 years who will commercialize the land parcels and in turn redevelop stations and maintain them for 15 years.

However, the railways can only lease stations through open tendering and as per current approvals, only individual stations can be put up for auction and there is no provision for bulk tendering. “It is up to us to find a suitable model for them,” said the official, adding that the carrier will have to think about a way to provide CIDB contracts through a transparent method.

As a final solution, the railways can approach the Cabinet for a government-to-government understanding but before that it will look for other ways which are at preliminary stage right now, according to the official.

The development comes close to the Indian Railways reaching out to the foreign embassies in India, urging them to market the station redevelopment plan in their own countries. The railways has already received inquiries from Switzerland, the UAE, Kuwait, Slovakia, Malaysia and Japan.

CIDB, however, has not named or asked for any particular category of stations, though they have shown interest in Rajasthan through road projects apart from some in the southern part of India. “We will give them stations which are not unviable but not the top-notch ones. We expect that with their expertise, we at least get those assured returns as expected,” said the official. Not all the stations will give similar rate of returns to developers, and the railways will, at a later date, think of incentivising developers to take up stations with lower margins.

Interestingly, CIDB already has an MoU with India’s Ircon International to develop railway infrastructure in India. “However, we do not want to select them through IRCON and we will be transparent in whatever way we approach it,” said the official.

IRSDC plans to organise a Global Design Competition for Station Upgrade ideas

At present, the contracts for redevelopment of Habibganj and Gandhinagar have already been awarded.

NEW DELHI: To pool in fresh design ideas for redevelopment of stations, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) plans to organise a global design competition. A panel will be formed comprising of reputed architects and railway officials who will examine entries and select two-three entries initially, after which a final entry will be selected for each station. The ministry of railways plans to redevelop 400-plus stations across the country wherein commercial rights for usage of railway land will be given to developers who in turn will redevelop the stations and maintain them. At present, contracts for redevelopment of Habibganj and Gandhinagar have already been awarded.

“Right now the norms and documents are being put together as it has to be objective and the panel needs to be chosen very carefully,” said railway ministry official requesting anonymity, and added it is crowd-sourcing of ideas which to bring in innovation. IRSDC, a special purpose vehicle formed jointly by IRCON  International Ltd and Rail Land Development Authority to develop and redevelop railway stations, will oversee the entire process.

Railway Board has given consent to turn IRSDC into a self-run company headed by Managing Director and a functional board.

The national carrier has already started six innovation challenges which are open to public. These include identifying sources to increase non-fare revenue, freight wagon designing, increasing carrying capacity of passenger coaches, and developing new digital capabilities, among others. When the redevelopment of a station will start, the winning designer for that station will be associated with the developer. “It will be binding on the developer to accept the winning design and the developer can further improvise the design,” added the official. The consultant while preparing the detailed project report will include the design in the proposal and then it will be placed for bids.

The railways has postponed the contract awarding date for Anand Vihar station as some land titles are yet to be cleared and developers are demanding clean land titles. The paperwork for Brijwasan station is expected to be completed by the month-end and will be put up for bids. In total, 23 stations have been identified in the first round of the station redevelopment programme which will be put up for bids. “As developers have asked for more time to put together concepts, we may be extending the tender dates which were advised on 8 February. The bid due date should have been end May,” said the official. The railways is at present addressing the pre-bid queries of developers.

Bidding for Redevelopment of 25 Railway Stations to begin soon: says Railway Minister

NEW DELHI: This summer, India plans to auction one of its largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects that entails redeveloping 25 of the country’s most prominent railway stations at a minimum investment of Rs 30,000 crore, railway minister Suresh Prabhu told.

“The bidding for around 25 stations is about to start. We’ve held several pre-bid consultations with many big real-estate players that are willing to invest in lieu of a long-term contract for the commercial exploitation of railway land,” Prabhu said.

Among the stations the government wants refurbished are Bengaluru, Lokmanya Tilak (T) in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Allahabad, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Bangalore Cantonment, Bhopal, Mumbai Central (Main), Borivali, and Indore.

Many of these railway stations serve as terminal points or key junctions for both inter-city travel and suburban services, which connect the outlying commuter belt to downtown Mumbai, New Delhi, or Kolkata.

India’s railroad network, a colonial inheritance, has struggled to match the country’s scorching pace of economic expansion, putting the focus on private partnership for garnering the cash needed to refurbish the rickety infrastructure.

Prabhu said the government and private stakeholders would invest at least Rs.8 lakh crore in the next five years to modernise the railways that still moved the bulk of the output from coal pits, cement silos, and steel factories.

“We are focusing on infrastructure in a big way, and on meaningful infrastructure. In the 70 years since Independence, we had accomplished just about 16,000 km of doubling (the tracks),” Prabhu said. “In the past two years, we have sanctioned almost 14,000 km of doubling and work is underway. This would give a huge boost to infrastructure in the next two years when these projects get commissioned.”

In the past two years, Prabhu has been credited with initiating two of the biggest reforms in the railroad sector. Last month, he secured the Cabinet’s nod for setting up an independent rail regulator to recommend fares, a move that could de-politise the decision of revising passenger tariffs. And last year, Prabhu voluntarily agreed to merge the railway budget with the general budget.

On the deteriorating financial health of the state-run transporter, the minister said his target was to help the railways clamber out of the cost-inefficiency trap and stablise the future operating ratio at 87-88%. The operating ratio is a key metric for the country’s railroads and indicates the money needed for the transporter to earn Rs 100. The railroad’s operating ratio was 96% in FY2017, leaving the government with little money to reinvest in the maintenance and improvement of the existing network.

“At the end of the year, people start comparing the Indian Railways to a corporate entity but forget all about its social commitments,” Prabhu said.

The Indian Railways has an additional wage-bill burden of Rs 25,000 crore as it had to implement the pay increases mandated by the seventh pay commission.

“To give you a perspective, the operating ratio moves by 1% when the expenditure increases by Rs 1,725 crore. That would mean that the operating ratio should have increased by almost 15% as compared to last year. If it were business as usual, we would have ended up at 105% as the operating ratio. But because of the increase in passenger and non-fare earnings and various cost-optimisation initiatives, we managed to pull back the operating ratio to only 96%,” he said.

“Add to this, my public social obligation of almost Rs 36,000 crore (below-cost passenger fares and rebates). If we are able to make up for that, the operating ratio would jump to almost 75%, which would be very good by international standards,” he added.

The minister said inadequate investments in the rail network after Independence were primarily responsible for the problems of the sector. “In the past 64 years, freight loading has grown by 1,344% and passenger kilometers by 1,642%. However, the route kilometers have grown by only 23%, and 65% of the sections are running at 100% or above line capacity on high-density networks,” he said.

For the current financial year, railways will have a capital expenditure budget of Rs 1.31 lakh crore, the highest ever.

“We have consistently grown our capex, almost doubling it in less than 2 years. Last year, our capital expenditure grew to Rs 1.11lakh crore. This growth is primarily coming on the back of increased third party investments,” he said.

Bengaluru’s top builders keen to redevelop Bangalore Cantt and Yesvantpur Railway Stations

BENGALURU: Top builders in the city have shown interest in redeveloping the Bengaluru Cantonment and Yesvantpur railway stations. This is the Railways’ first attempt to remodel stations through public-private partnership.

“We will come to know specific details such as project design and seriousness of the participants on June 1, the last date for participation in the tender process,“ Lakshman Singh, Divisional Railway Manager (Works), South Western Railway , said.

Apparently, L&T Realty, Mantri Developers, Brigade group, Prestige group, Godrej properties, Sobha and RMZ Corp have made enquiries and even made site visits.

Suresh Hari, secretary, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) said the demand from developers was due to the dearth of quality land in Bengaluru.

“It’s a big challenge to get a good parcel of land in city centre with clear titles. Besides, the plan sanction will also be faster as the project belongs to the railways,“ he said.

The PPP entails that the railways provide 2.25 acres of land adjacent to the Bengaluru Cantonment station and 20 acres of land near the Yesvantpur station to the private partner on a 45-year lease, during which the developer is free to ex-ploit it commercially.

The railways has promised to provide encroachment-free land with clear titles, 100% FDI and transparent selection process. In return, the developer would have to redevelop these two stations, which are part of the 20 stations identified for redevelopment across India under Phase I.The redeveloped stations are expected to have wi-fi facility, digital signages, escalators, self-ticketing counters and baggage screening machines.

The process of selection involves two stages. In the first stage, the short-listed applicants will have to prepare a detailed project report on how they want to develop the station as well as the vacant land. The second stage involves bidding.

At the Cantonment station, the railways will provide the 2.25 acres with an indicative cost of Rs 80 crore. At Yesvantpur station, the 20-acre plot will be provided at an indicative cost of Rs 100 crore.

Commuter rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the project seemed to be providing prime land to builders in the name of redeveloping stations. “The redevelopment seems to be limited to passenger amenities while the bigger focus should have been on creating rail infrastructure. The railways must instead use the funds towards doubling of tracks and electrification as well as decongesting Bengaluru city railway station,“ he said.

Surat multi-modal Rail Transport Hub project gets 9 Bids, dates advanced

While global bids were invited for railway station redevelopment projects flagged off by IRSDC, Lohia quelled rumours of leading Chinese realty developer Wanda Group bagging the Surat project and added that Metro may be integrated into the Surat project.

SURAT: The ambitious multi-modal transport hub construction project of Surat railway station, slated to begin last year, received nine bids by interested developers even as authorities have advanced the bidding dates to April 15, 2017. This was revealed by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) CEO Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, who gave a talk on “Metro System: Planning, Design & Operation” at CEPT University on Thursday after attending the second meeting of GARUD (Gandhinagar Railway Station Integrated Development Company Ltd,) — an SPV formed to implement redevelopment of Gandhinagar railway station.

While global bids were invited for railway station redevelopment projects flagged off by IRSDC, Lohia quelled rumours of leading Chinese realty developer Wanda Group bagging the Surat project and added that Metro may be integrated into the Surat project. Sources close to the development said that close to four bids had come for the Gandhinagar project.

“The Wanda Group had come and met us. They were interested for Gandhinagar and Surat, but we have been trying to showcase the projects across the globe and have held roadshows in Abu Dhabi, Dubai etc. In both instances, we had opened up the bids globally, but perhaps the size of the project was small so we did not get global projects to bid. The Gandhinagar railway station redevelopment project is roughly Rs 245 crore, including the 5-star hotel project which will have 300 rooms. On February 8, the bidding process for redevelopment of 23 railways station in the country was put into motion and by mid-May or so, prospective bidders and developers will submit their concept designs, to be followed by a process of selection… In Surat, we have invited the bids and we have received a total of 9 parties by March 3 and are in the process of evaluating and hopefully by April 15, we will issue the RFP (Request for proposal),” said Lohia.

He said the entity will have a separate students category in the design competition which sought to invite concept design for the redevelopment of Gwalior, Baiyappanahalli (Bengaluru), Gandhinagar-Jaipur, Amritsar and Nagpur stations. He said that while both students and professional architectural firms will be adjudged by the same jury, this move will open up work opportunities for budding talent to work with professional firms while allowing IRSDC to have a wider stakeholder consultation. The winning firm will also operate the five-star hotel and the twin properties of Mahatma Mandir and Helipad exhibition grounds.

Habibganj becomes the First Railway Station on Indian Railways to be Fully Managed by a Private Party

Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, CEO of Indian Railways Stations Development Corp. declares Habibganj as their First Railway Station on IR to be fully managed by Private Player

BHOPAL: Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, CEO of IRSDC announced that the Station management of Habibganj Railway Station has been fully taken over by M/s. Bansal Pathways Ltd – an SPV of Bansal Construction Works and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India).  The firm has taken over the management of the station as per station facility management agreement w.e.f. 1st March, 2017 – thus making Habibganj emerging as the first Railway station on Indian Railways to be managed by a private party, and marking it as the historic day for station redevelopment programme of Indian Railways.

After financial closure and novation of contracts, appointed date for Habibganj station development project achieved on 1/3/17 with both sides meeting the conditions precedent and developer M/s Bansal Pathways Ltd fully gearing up to take over the the management of station as per station facility management agreement w.e.f 1/3/17.  Sanjeev Lohia said that this milestone would not have been achieved by the organisation unless the great contribution and support rendered by the DRM Bhopal, ADRM Bhopal and all the Branch Officers of Bhopal division, WCR HQ officers, Railway Board, team IRSDC, Developer, Lending Banks and consultants.

This important milestone strikingly coincides with the Indian Railways eyeing fancy makeover for Habibganj Railway Station in Bhopal with a a huge make over, with a lot of station improvement programmes, erection of glass dome-like structure serving as the entrance for passengers and various passenger amenities to contribute for Smart City Bhopal. The programme envisages for large scale developments – once inside, passengers can avail the services of cafeterias and food plazas and wait for trains at a lounge. There would also be holding areas for passengers at every platform and an exit underpass for passengers de-boarding trains to ease congestion on platforms. Habibganj would also offer travellers the first experience of the Indian Railways’ touted station redevelopment programme. The transporter had selected 400 stations for redevelopment, at an expenditure of Rs 96,000 crore by private developers. From the list, a detailed study was conducted for 50 stations with 28 of them being priotitised.

However, core operations such as signalling, track maintenance and running of trains will be undertaken by the railways.

The plan for station redevelopment extends beyond 400 stations though. “Another 300 stations will be redeveloped as we plan to partner with the Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana,” says Rajiv Chaudhry, adviser-station redevelopment, Railway Board.

In July 2016, the Comptroller and Auditor General had said the railways’ station modernisation plan was progressing at a slow pace, pulling up the transporter for “improper and inadequate maintenance of passenger amenities”. Things have got moving since then, what with work at the Habibganj station expected to start soon and another 23 stations likely to be put up for bids. Habibganj station will be redeveloped by M/s Bansal Pathways Habibganj, an SPV of Bansal Construction Works and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India). The estimated cost of station redevelopment is Rs.100 crore and that of commercial redevelopment around Rs.350 crore.

Under the new model, the railways will monetise surplus railway land —which could be in the vicinity of the station or elsewhere in the city—by leasing it out for 45 years to developers who in turn will redevelop stations. The developer would earn revenue from the commerical establishments on the land, as also non-fare revenue streams at the station such as publicity and parkings. The developer would maintain the station for 15 years, after which the maintenance contract would come up for rebidding. Core operations at the station like track maintenance and train running would continue to be handled by the transporter.

To return to Habibganj station, it would have more to offer to travellers besides its refurbished interiors; outside, on its western side, would lie commercial establishments, a bus terminal, office lobbies and service apartments, while the eastern side would have hospitals, hotels, convention centre, and spas. That might change the way passengers visualise train travel, once it is functional in three years’ time.

According to the official quoted above, the total redevelopment work will take around two years. The official added that the Habibganj project is relatively easier to be executed compared with others in the pipeline given it witnesses around 25,500 passengers daily which is expected to go up to approximately 80,700. “There are few trains that stop here and given that the construction will happen while operations are on, it is a simpler project,” said the official. The stations which will be put up for tender through the Swiss Challenge method include Pune, Howrah, Kanpur Central, Chennai Central and Bandra Terminus, among others.

Rail Ministry launches Rs 1 Lakh Crore Station Redevelopment Programme

Railways launch First Phase of Station Redevelopment programme in which 400 A1 and A stations for redevelopment through PPP will be taken up. The programme is expected to provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to Private Developers across the country for Station Redevelopment

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways today launched the first phase of station redevelopment programme covering commercial development of 23 stations across the country, which is expected to see investments worth Rs 9,000 crore.

As part of the programme, Railways will take up 400 A1 and A stations for redevelopment through public private partnership (PPP), which may see at least Rs 1 lakh crore worth of investments. The 23 stations that will be up for bidding in the first phase include Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantonment, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.

“We have the largest captive audience and hence it has huge commercial value. We are following a transparent process for this. We are also partnering with the ministry of urban development to develop smart stations in identified smart cities ,” said Suresh Prabhu, minister of state for railways. Prabhu added that several pension funds, investors, organisations like world bank and various state governments are also involved in the project.

For the programme, railways had appointed Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as the strategic advisor. Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of land at these stations to the developers on a 45-year lease period. For every zone, railways has appointed a nodal officer to deal with the developers.

The redeveloped stations will provide amenities like digital signage, escalators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, restaurants, malls, theaters and even Wi-Fi facility.

As per estimates by the railways, the programme will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country. The programme is expected to provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to private developers across the country.

“This is going to be the largest transit oriented programme ever executed in the country,” said A K Mittal, chairman of railway board. This is expected to generate a surplus revenue of about Rs 10,000 crore to the railways on an annual basis.

Kamakhya among 400 Railway Stations to be redeveloped

The project for re-development of the Kamakhya Railway Station will be launched on February 8.

NF Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said the Indian Railways is planning to kick-start its ambitious programme to re-develop 400 key stations in the country. This includes 22 stations in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone.

“To take the scheme further in a planned fashion, Indian Railways has carried out detailed assessment involving renowned consultants and has taken market feedback. Based on this, Indian Railways has prioritised about 23 stations in the pipeline for Phase I. Kamakhya Station of NFR is also included in the first phase,” Sharma said.

Phase I of the re-development programme will be launched on February 8 by Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu in a centralised manner in New Delhi.

The launch will be held simultaneously across the 23 stations, including Kamakhya, by video conferencing.

“Bid documents for technical cum financial offer would be available immediately after the launch,” Sharma said. He said the re-developed stations would provide amenities and services to the passengers in line with world-class railway stations.

“The stations will be re-developed through public-private-partnership (PPP) model without straining Railways’ finances. The re-developed stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like digital signage, escalators and elevators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi, etc,” he said.

Sharma added, “The Railway Board has devised an innovative plan to provide these amenities through PPP model by leveraging the real estate available at the railway stations. Commercial potential of vacant railway land at or near stations, which will be given for a lease period of 45 years, will be leveraged to develop world-class stations with no additional funding required from the Railways. The programme will also generate surplus for the Indian Railways which can be invested in other modernisation projects.”

Bidding for railway station redevelopment project begins on various Divisions

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu formally launched the Station Re-development Project (SRP) for 23 railway stations, to be taken up in the first phase, from New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

Visakhapatnam Railway Station (East Coast Railway) and Vijayawada Railway Station (South Central Railway) are among the stations on East Coast Railway and South Central Railway selected for redevelopment in the first phase.

Addressing the stakeholders through video conference, the Railway Minister said the multi-pronged strategy was to provide amenities to passengers through private participation. The vacant railway land available around the stations would be leased to successful bidders for a 45-year lease to exploit them commercially.

The surplus generated from the commercial potential would be used to fund modernisation of railway stations, without any additional funding from the railways.

The Railway Minister said joint ventures could also be formed with various State governments for railway infrastructure development. He said the bidding for the SRP projects would be transparent and all details would be available on the railway website.

Presiding over the stakeholders meet here, Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee said two parcels of encroachment-free land – one 15,400 sq. m. and the other 3,600 sq.m – was available on the Gnanapuram-side of Visakhapatnam Railway Station. The successful bidder would have to pay a nominal lease rent to the railways.

GVMC Commissioner M. Harinarayanan said land parcels available to prospective bidders were on the important Pendurthy Transit Corridor of Bus Rapid Transit System.

The tenders for SRP are open from Wednesday (Feb 8). The last date for filing of tenders is May 24. Invitation and other documents can be downloaded from the website http://www.indianrailways.gov.in.

Five railway train stations to get redeveloped in Mumbai. These stations include Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali, Thane, Kurla Terminus stations.

Indian Railways has kickstarted the first phase of the process for redevelopment of 20 railway stations, including 5 stations of Mumbai – three on the Western Railway and two on Central Railway. Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu launched the plan through video conferencing from New Delhi on Wednesday.

In all, four stations of Western Railway are on the cards to be redeveloped, of which three are in Mumbai, i.e Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus & Borivali stations and the last being Indore of Ratlam division.

On the Central Railway, the stations chosen are Kurla Terminus, Thane and Pune. The indicative project cost for redevelopment of Indore station is Rs 75 crore, while the vacant land available for commercial exploitation and relocation at Indore station is 32375 sqm.

Under the project, Indian Railways have planned to modernise 400 railway stations throughout the country and equip them with state-of-the-art facilities and swanky world-class amenities. The project broadly includes redevelopment of railway stations by commercially exploiting the encumbrance free land and airspace at each station. Stations will be developed as per international standards, providing comfort and convenience to passengers and other stakeholders. The redevelopment of stations will primarily consist of upgrading the level of passenger amenities by new constructions / renovations and include redevelopment of station buildings, platform surfaces, circulating area, etc. to better serve the needs of the passengers. These stations will be made under the public–private partnership model and be on the Swiss challenge method in executing the project.

Secunderabad and Vijayawada Railway Stations selected for Station Redevelopment Project

Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu to  launch the project on 8th February,2017

SECUNDERABAD: Indian Railways is all set to implement a very ambitious plan which will change the face of Railway Stations on its network. The plan, Station Redevelopment Project, a brain child of Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to bring about a revamp on Indian Railways system has been given shape by the Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and is being launched on 8th February, 2017 at New Delhi.

The Station Re-Development Project is being taken up under the Swiss Challenge method which involves inviting a proposal online and permitting rival bidders to beat that proposal with a more attractive one. In the first phase, 23 railway stations have been selected on Indian Railways for the Re-Development Project launch on 8th February 2017, which include Secunderabad and Vijayawada Railway Stations on South Central Railway.

The plan is basically tuned to the endeavor of Indian Railways to redevelop its railway stations to the best standards by means of leveraging the valuable real estate it holds in terms of land and air space in and around railway stations. Amongst the over 8,000 stations on the system, 400+ stations have been selected for the station redevelopment program basing on the present revenue the stations are generating.

The Station Re-Development Project envisages a huge revamp in infrastructure at the stations including the platforms and the circulating areas to be undertaken by the chosen developer. What is being conceptualized is, development of World Class Stations which can generate surplus revenue on account of their commercial potential, with the surplus money going for modernization of railway stations with no additional funding from the railways side.

The redevelopment of Station will primarily consist of upgrading the level of passenger amenities by new constructions/renovations and include redevelopment of station buildings, platform surfaces, circulating area, etc., to better serve the needs of the passengers. Commercial establishments including Hotels, Multiplexes, and Shopping Malls etc will come up in the land earmarked by the Railways for the use of the developer. In return the developer will hold the rights for commercial exploitation of the land at the station for a period of 45 years, while the ownership of the land remains with the Railways.

The selection of developer involves a Two Stage bidding process to bring in the best-in-class design and capabilities. The technical and financial proposals of potential bidders will be evaluated in the first phase to select the design of the project proponent. Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be created based on the submission of the project proponent and the finalized DPR along with the bidding documents will be released for inviting bids from the market. The first right of refusal will rest with the selected project proponent after evaluation of the bids.

An expert committee has been appointed by the Railway Ministry which will accept the best proposal with the original proposer being given an opportunity to accept the same, if this proposal betters the original one. The balance railway stations identified for Station Re-Development Project will also be bid out in Phase-II and Phase-III later during the year.

A brief on the Railway Station:-

Secunderabad Railway Station, the first station on the present jurisdiction of South Central Railway was inaugurated in 1874. Since then, the station has evolved and continues to maintain its status as the most prominent rail hub of Hyderabad City, whose Metropolitan agglomerate holds a population of over One Crore at present. The station, which falls under A-1 Category, handles around 1.50 lakh users and 230 passenger carrying trains each day, generating earnings of around 2.00 Crore. The station is the first on Indian Railways to have the facility of being connected to all platforms with escalators.

Vijayawada Railway Station, built in 1888, holds a prime place on the Indian Railway System as one of the busiest junctions in the country. Added to this, the station is now the gateway to Amaravati, Capital of the fledgling State of Andhra Pradesh. The station comprises of ten platforms and holds virtually every basic passenger amenity required. Very recently, the station has been upgraded with the most modern and efficient Route Relay Interlocking System, which has enhanced the signaling capacity enormously and holds potential to handle 30% more trains than at present. The station caters to around 1.0 lakh footfalls, served by 250 passenger carrying trains and earns a revenue of Rs. 70 lakhs each day.

Union Budget 2017-18: J Kumar Infra up 5% on 25 Stations Redevelopment Plan

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2017-18 has announced that the contract for re-development of atleast 25 stations will be awarded in 2017-18.

NEW DELHI: Shares of J Kumar Infraprojects and ITD Cementation India gained 2-5 percent on Wednesday as government will provide re-development of 25 stations in 2017-18.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2017-18 has announced that the contract for re-development of atleast 25 stations will be awarded in 2017-18.

The government is propose to invest Rs 1.31 lakh crore in railways in 2017-18, out of which Centre will fund Rs 55000 crore of railway infra budget.

The Railway Budget has presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today which has been merged with the General Budget.

At 11:56 hrs J Kumar Infraprojects was quoting at Rs 230, up Rs 5.20, or 2.31 percent and ITD Cementation India was quoting at Rs 163.60, up Rs 3.10, or 1.93 percent.

Railways allows 80 year Lease Plan for Bandra Plot

The move is expected to add value to several railway plots in the city and also give an impetus to the move by IRSDC to redevelop some of the major stations in the city by leveraging money gained from such land development

MUMBAI: In a major policy shift, the railway ministry and the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) have decided to allot a 43,000-sq.m Bandra plot for commercial development on a lease period of 80 years. The previous land lease period of 45 years had put a dampener on the realtors and had led to the lease tenders of this land failing four times since May 2014.

The move is expected to add value to several railway plots in the city and also give an impetus to the move by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDC)—a joint venture company of IRCON International Ltd (Ministry of Railways PSU) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA)—to redevelop some of the major stations in the city by leveraging money gained from such land development.

The financing of the Bandra-Virar elevated corridor which the government and the railway ministry want to build under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) also depends heavily on the leveraging of vacant land.

As per the latest RLDA directive, bidders have been invited for the ‘grant of lease for commercial development for 80 years’ of the Bandra plot. The pre-bid meeting will take place on February 2 and the bids will be opened on March 22.

The money that will come in from the sale-lease of the Bandra plot will be used in three parts – one for a railway project in Mumbai, the other for a rail project in the state and the third part for a rail project anywhere in India.

With ticket revenues and advertisements unable to bring in the desired revenue, land development is the big idea that Railways believes will bring in the much needed funds.

Centre plans Airport Model for Secunderabad Railway station

Revamp Sec’bad rail station’s surroundings too; asks Commuters. Indian Railways ropes in private firms to modernise 23 other stations across the country.

SECUNDERABAD: The Indian Railways has decided to redevelop and modernise 23 stations across the country and is set to rope in private companies for the job. The 143-year-old Secunderabad railway station is among 23 other stations that have been shortlisted by the Centre to be modernised with the help of private players. As part of the planned facelift, authorities hope to transform the station and recreate an airport-like ambiance complete with swank restaurants and shopping complexes.

The Secunderabad station is among the ‘core stations’ connecting the north and south of the country as well as the south to the east. It caters to 1.6 lakh passengers daily.

“A blueprint of development plan is being prepared by SCR authorities currently . Once the blueprint is ready, it will be sent to the Ministry of Railways for approval,” said M Umashankar Kumar, chief public relations officer, South Central Railway. The 23 core stations will be developed at a cost of around Rs 4,000 crore, while the overall cost of building facilities in and around the stations is expected to be around Rs 25,000 crore.

The Boston Consulting Group, which conducted feasibility studies for 55 stations, found 23 including the Secunderabad station requiring an overhaul. Among the other stations that will be revamped are the Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada stations. Apart from modernising the Secunderabad station, private developers who will be roped in will also get the rights to develop surplus land near the station.

A core station in the South Central Railway zone, the iconic Secunderabad station is scheduled to undergo a major upgrade to gain an airport-like ambience with shopping arcades and restaurants. Even as the Centre has cleared the modernisation plans for the 143-year-old station, commuters are readying their wish list.

The station has been included in the list of 23 stations across the country which will be ‘overhauled’ by private players at a total investment of Rs 4,000 crore. The zonal authorities will chart a blueprint of the new layout soon, but passengers are hoping that the station surroundings will also get a new look.

High on their list of expectations is a clutter-free approach road to the major junction. “It took me exactly 15 minutes to reach the approach road to the station from Punjagutta. But navigating the road outside the station cost me 15-20 minutes. Also, the entrance to platform 1 is a picture of chaos unlike platform 10. This needs to be changed,” said Jayanth Reddy, a passenger.

Passengers also want more parking space and waiting rooms at the station. “If the station is being improved, I would suggest having reclining chairs in waiting rooms. Currently, there is limited space in the retiring rooms,” said Poojitha Rao, another railway passenger.

The station had already seen some development over the last few years under the Centre’s World Class station plan.

The authorities had built escalators on majority of the platforms, built lifts and set up electronic display boards, surveillance cameras and drinking water kiosks. Facilities such as restaurants, book stalls, waiting halls, cloak rooms, inquiry counters and foot bridges were already in place. What the redevelopment failed to fix was the levels of noise pollution on the platforms. “The noise pollution is quite high because of the constant announcements and also the sheer number of passengers and vendors. I would really like a more relaxed ambience. Also the occasional beggar seen at the station should be removed,” said Lasya N, a techie.

The land can be used for building hotels and other facilities. The lease will be for 45 years as per the plan.

The stations that will be redeveloped and modernised are — Kanpur Central, Allahabad, Lokmanya Tilak, Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Horah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Ranchi, Chennai Central, Kozhikide, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt, Bhopal, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore.

According to reports, work on the first private sector-driven redevelopment programme will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Habibganj station near Bhopal next week.

Bansal Construction have been awarded the contact to redevelop Habibganj station at Rs 400 crore. While Rs 100 crore will be spent for redeveloping the main station, the remaining amount will be utilised for creating secondary facilities.

The financial model for programme has been worked out in a way that the government doesn’t incur any expenditure as the developer will be rebuilding the stations and maintaining it for 15 years. In return, the developer will be granted 45 years’ leasing rights for the commercial properties developed at these stations.

Contracts for redeveloping Faridabad, which falls in the National Capital Region, and at least two station in Delhi (Anand Vihar and Bijwasan) are expected to be finalised by March this year.

The Prime Minister had earlier this month said that his government ‘is focused on development of railways shedding earlier practices wherein the ministry was used as a bargaining tool by the main ruling party to distribute trophies to its allies’.

He had recently laid the foundation stone for redevelopment of Gandhinagar railway station, which will get a face-lift at a cost of Rs 250 crore and will have a 300-room five star hotel built atop.

 

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.

Railways may give 90-yr Lease to contractors to put world class stations on track

To reap the maximum benefit out of the station redevelopment programme, the railways ministry plans to increasingly lean towards a 90-year lease structure for developers.

New Delhi: To reap the maximum benefit out of the station redevelopment programme, the railways ministry plans to increasingly lean towards a 90-year lease structure for developers.

“If we increase the lease period to 90 years, the benefits multiply by 1.5 times. The current approval from the Cabinet is for 45 years…once we have tested the market with this current lot of 23 stations, in the next lot we will approach the Cabinet to allow us to lease for 90 years,” said a railway ministry official requesting anonymity.

The Indian Railways is all set to start work on the first railway redevelopment project at Habibganj in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, and simultaneously put 23 more stations up for tender. The stations include Pune, Howrah, Kanpur Central, Chennai Central and Bandra Terminus, among others.

The railways plans to redevelop more than 400 stations on a public-private-partnership basis to upgrade stations and provide modern amenities such as cafes, walkways and holding areas to passengers. Under the current structure, a developer will get a commercial lease for 45 years and the maintenance contract will be provided for 15 years.

A 90-year lease formula has only been allowed for Surat and Gandhinagar, both in Gujarat, on a case-to-case basis.

Explaining the rationale, the official said, “If you sell land, you get the full potential value. However, if you lease for shorter period, you do not get that much revenue. Leasing for 90 years is as good as sold and you reap full potential.” He added the railways intends to lean more towards the 90-year lease period if Cabinet allows.

According to Arunendra Kumar, former chairman of the Railway Board, though 90 years is a long lease period, it may attract quality investment. “It may attract serious and good investors who will shell out more because they will have ownership for a longer period.

He added whatever be the lease period, it should be ensured through clauses that the property returns to the railways after the expiry of the lease period.

The station redevelopment programme, which aims to monetise land assets around stations and the airspace, has attracted interest from entities from Malaysia, South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Belgium.

10 Awesome features you could expect at Railway Stations after the Redevelopment Project!

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:

  1. Iconic structures with state-of-the-art facilities.
  2. Congestion free non-conflicting entry and exit to the station premises.
  3. Segregation of arrival/departure of passengers.
  4. Integration with other modes of public/private transport systems like bus, metro, etc.
  5. All essential facilities at concourse like catering, small retail, washrooms, cloak rooms, drinking water, ATM, pharmacy and internet.
  6. User-friendly international signage understandable by all sections of passengers.
  7. Additional facilities like retail, shopping, hospitality, food courts etc.
  8. Helipad
  9. Medical facilities
  10. Green Buildings, with optimum use of natural ventilation & lighting

Railways, NBCC may join hands for Smart Stations

New Delhi: State-owned construction major NBCC (India) Limited (NBCC) is close to clinching a deal with the Indian Railways for redeveloping about a dozen railway stations, says company’s top boss. “Talks with the railway ministry is on and we may get contract to redevelop 10-12 railway stations,” Anoop Kumar Mittal, Chairman and Managing director, NBCC told.

The railways has identified nearly 400 ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations, mostly located in metros, major cities, pilgrimage places and key tourist destinations, for redevelopment by private developers.

These stations will be renovated along smart city lines with the aim to enhance passenger amenities, provide easy access to stations and enable optimal utilisation of land at railway stations. Developers will recover their costs by exploiting surrounding land for development of commercial real estate, which would then become a revenue stream for the PSU.

The internal rate of return (IRR) on NBCC’s investment would be anywhere between 12 to 15 per cent, depending on the agreement between the two sides. The national transporter is looking to rope in NBCC and other private players, as its subsidiary, Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), cannot handle so many projects.

To its credit, the PSU has completed New Moti Bagh re­development project in Delhi. It is also building ne­arly 30,000 houses under redevelopment and new projects in the national capital, including Kidwai Na­gar, Sar­ojini Nagar, Kark­ardoma and Sanjay Lake.

The company has tied up with UK-based Department for International Development for collaboration in this area.

Mittal said the exact cost of the projects would be kn­own only after stations are identified and detailed project reports are prepared.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that the PSU would undertake redevelopment of old railways stations in the 2015-16 budget. Following that, the railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ministry of urban development last October.

The memorandum of understanding proposes two joint venture options for renovating railway station areas on a fast-track basis. The first option is for the railways and the special purpose vehicle to execute smart city plans set up a joint venture, with equal share in equity. The joint venture will, in turn, award redevelopment to NBCC on a nomination basis.

In the second model, NBCC can be roped in as the third partner with equal share. The public sector undertaking can design, develop and execute the redevelopment plans on a self-financing basis.

While the railways would be responsible for forming joint ventures, the urban development ministry will work with states and urban local bodies for integrating railway station redevelopment as part of smart city development plans.

Mega Consortia to develop 21 Railway Stations in Kerala

Kerala nominates five partners for Indian Railways’ initiative for redevelopment of 500 world-class stations by 2018

thiruvananthapuram-railway-stationThiruvananthapuram: The State is to have a major say in the redevelopment of 21 railway stations with the government nominating five partners for the initiative of Railways.

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society based in Madapally, Kozhikode, and Technopark are the partners for the project.

Secretary, Transport, has also been nominated as the coordinating officer for the initiative that will involve liaison between Railways, the government, and the partners, sources told. The government has notified the partners and the coordinating officer.

The 21 stations in the State figure among the 400 identified by Railways for upgrade to world-class stations by leveraging the real estate potential and airspace in and around the stations.

Railways have told the government that its aim is to transform the stations into iconic structures reflecting the culture and character of the cities and to provide state-of-the-art facilities to the travelling public and residents of these cities. The Union government is to spend nearly Rs.100 crore for the development of the 400 railway stations that were announced in the Railway Budget.

60 km of track replaced

Sixty km of railway track has been replaced in the Thiruvanthapuram railway division till date this year compared to the 58 km of track replaced last year, Divisional Railway Manager Prakash Butani said on Wednesday.

Presiding over the 66th Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (DRUCC) meeting at the divisional headquarters here, Mr. Butani reiterated Railways’ commitment to safety in train operations in the State. As high priority is given to track maintenance work, he said punctuality of trains is being affected.

The Divisional Railway Manager said on-board cleanliness of trains will be started progressively within two months. The earlier attempts to award cleaning contracts did not succeed owing to recent changes in labour rates.

Railways will focus on work in close association with civil society groups such as Kudumbasree to enhance passenger service in parking and waiting hall management. Air-conditioned paid waiting hall in association with Kudumbasree is well appreciated at Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town and this model will be tried at Kollam and Thrissur shortly. Free Wi-Fi service at Kollam will be commissioned shortly and the new escalator at Chengannur and Nagercoil stations will be commissioned within a month.

NBCC to redevelop 10 Railway Stations

nbccNew Delhi: State-run real estate company NBCC (India) is likely to invest Rs 5000 crore to redevelop 10 railway stations. Railway ministry plan to redevelop 100 stations into world-class terminals in partnership with corporations is set to get a big start with NBCC picking up 10 stations for revamp.

“We’ll be redeveloping 10 stations and the monetisation would be done through commercial exploitation of the land that railway provides,” said Anoop Kumar Mittal, Chairman at National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

The stations which NBCC has identified are Varanasi, Jaipur, Kota, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Thane, Margao (Goa), Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Tirupati and Puducherry. NBCC will construct commercial and residential spaces on the station land earmarked for development.

NBCC (India) a PSU of Urban Development Ministry, is one of the few Public Sector companies engaged in the business of project management consultancy services for civil construction projects (PMC), civil infrastructure for power sector and real estate development.

Corporations participating in this initiative in the first phase would redevelop core infrastructure such as platform, lounges, ticketing counters, parking and other passenger amenities, besides building separate arrival and departure terminals on the lines of airports, a railway board official said.

Against this, they would get commercial exploitation rights of these stations’ land bank for 45 years. They can build or lease land to hotels, malls, multiplexes and corporates, the official said.

“We’ll soon start the work on the detailed projects reports of these stations,” Mittal told.

The railways earlier in January mulled a plan to offer two stations to National Buildings Construction Corporation for conversion into the country’s “most-modern” rail premises as part of a redevelopment plan for redevelopment of Gomtinagar station in Lucknow and Bhubaneswar station in Odisha.

The plan envisages vertical development of rail premises with the construction of shopping malls, eateries, parking lot, office complex and other commercial ventures, he said. The redevelopment plan is to be implemented on a turnkey basis. NBCC would prepare a business model for leveraging the real estate development of the ten stations.

Mittal said the real estate prospects differ from station to station. “One can leverage the real estate to develop modern facilities at stations. Once we get a concrete offer, we will decide how to go about it,” he said.

Railways, UD Ministries to jointly Redevelop Stations under Smart City plans

Smart City Plans of some cities may potentially impact city railway station and allied services. These include; Jaipur, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Indore, Pune, Bhopal, Chennai etc.

surat-railway-stationNew Delhi: In a major initiative, railway stations and adjoining areas will be redeveloped on Smart City lines for enhancing passenger amenities, easy access to stations, enabling optimal utilization of land at railway stations, as a part of Smart City development.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard by the Ministries of Urban Development and Railways in the presence of Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Suresh Prabhu. Dr.Sameer Sharma, Mission Director, Smart City Mission and Shri Rajiv Chaudhary, Advisor, Ministry of Railways signed the MoU.

Both the Ministers lauded the joint initiative as a historic landmark that brings synergy in development of smart cities since there can’t be a smart city without a smart railway station. M.Venkaiah Naidu said on the occasion that this convergence based city development will result in qualitative improvement in city life. He suggested involvement of local people in redevelopment plans.

Naidu suggested that to begin with 10 cities could be taken up for the proposed redevelopment with the involvement of National Buildings Construction Corporation(NBCC) which has successfully executed redevelopment projects on self-financing basis. These cities are : Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneswwar, Lucknow, Varnasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao(Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry. This was agreed to by Railway Minister.

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu said that railway stations have been the core of city development and have become congested over time and their redevelopment offers immense opportunities for changing city landscape. Stating that redevelopment work of Habibganj railway station has already been awarded and plans for Anand Vihar (Delhi), Surat, Bijwasan and Gandhinagar are in advanced stage. He said that several countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, UK and Belgium have showed interest in redevelopment and a Round Table of domestic and overseas bankers will be organized next week to discuss financing of these redevelopment projects.

To be implemented first in the 100 cities included in the Smart City Mission, redevelopment of railway stations will be undertaken in AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and HRIDAY (Heritage Infrastructure Development and Augmentation Yojana) cities extending the scope of the MoU to over 500 cities.

Railway station and the adjoining area in each of these cities will be redeveloped on the lines of Area Based Development provided in the Smart City Mission Guidelines. Average cost of redevelopment of identified area of about 500 acres in the Smart City Plans of 60 cities approved so far comes to about Rs.1,500 cr. The proposed redevelopment involving railway stations envisages improving passenger amenities, easy access to stations, integrated public transport hub, waiting halls and other amenities for passengers, development of residential and commercial spaces, land scaping etc.

The joint initiative of the Ministries of Urban Development and Railways widens the smart city development to one more area in each of the mission cities with each city required to select one area under respective Smart City Plans in the first phase.

The MoU proposes two Joint Venture options for speedy redevelopment of railway station centred areas. The first being between the Railways and the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for execution of Smart City Plans, with equal share in equity. In the second model, National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) can be roped in with equal share among the three. NBCC can design, develop and execute the redevelopment plans on self-financing basis.

While the Ministry of Railways takes the responsibility of forming Joint Ventures, the Ministry of Urban Development will work with the States and Urban Local Bodies for integrating railway station redevelopment as part of smart city development plans.

MoU states that ‘Both railway station redevelopment and Smart City concepts are part of holistic development of respective city. Redevelopment of railway station and its suburbs as part of Smart City Plans leads to an integrated public transport hub around railway station and encourage Transit Oriented Development.”

The validity of the MoU is five years to begin with and can be extended with the consent of both the Ministries.

Smart City Plans of some cities have already included area based development surrounding railway stations. These include; Bhubaneswar, Thane and Solapur (Maharashtra), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Hubli-Dharwad (Karnataka). Smart City Plans of some other cities may potentially impact city railway station and allied services. These include; Jaipur, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Indore, Pune, Bhopal, Chennai etc.

Government to monetise land around Railway stations

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said several countries have expressed interest in being part of the project, including Germany, France and Japan. MoU between Railways and Ministry of Urban Development promises ambitious redevelopment

suresh-prabhu-venkaiah-naiduYou can’t have a smart city without a smart railway station. Keeping that in mind, more than 500 railway stations in the country will ‘smarten up’ with better passenger amenities, easy access and integrated public transport hubs.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the Urban Development Ministry and the Railways on Wednesday, expects to redevelop railway stations and surrounding areas under the Smart City plan.

Public land around railway stations across 100 proposed Smart City Railway Station is set to be monetised, following the inking of a deal between the ministries of Urban Development and Railways on Wednesday, to create model railway stations.

Around 300 to 800 acres of such land in every Smart City would be redeveloped to create integrated transport hubs, passenger amenities, residential areas, and commercial units. The project will later be extended to all the 500 cities under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.

The railway station and an adjoining area in smart cities will be redeveloped on the lines of ‘Area Based Development’ that has been provided in the Smart City Mission Guidelines.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said several countries have expressed interest in being part of the project, including Germany, France and Japan.

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said 10 stations would be redeveloped in the initial phase, including Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Puducherry, Jaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Margao (Goa), Bhubaneswar, Kota, Thane and Tirupati.

Stations to be upgraded

To begin with, 100 railway stations and an adjoining area of 300-800 acres would be redeveloped in the Smart Cities and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Cities plans.

At present, railway stations in 10 cities could be taken up for the redevelopment with the involvement of the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

They are Varanasi, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneswwar, Lucknow, Varnasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao (Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry.

Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said that railway stations, which are at the core of city development, have become congested over time. Their redevelopment offers immense opportunities for the changing city landscape. Mr. Prabhu said that countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the U.K. and Belgium have shown interest in the redevelopment of railway stations. A meeting of domestic and overseas bankers will be organised next week to discuss the financing of these redevelopment projects.

The scope of the MoU will be extended to over 500 cities in time. The cost of redeveloping about 500 acres in the Smart City Plans of 60 approved cities is approximately Rs. 1,500 crore.

The validity of the MoU is five years and can be extended with the consent of both the ministries.

5 things to know

1) The railway station and an adjoining area in smart cities will be redeveloped on the lines of ‘Area Based Development’ that has been provided in the Smart City Mission Guidelines. According to the ministries, the proposed redevelopment will involve easy access to stations, improved passenger amenities, integrated public transport hub, waiting halls and other amenities for passengers, development of residential and commercial spaces, landscaping etc.

2) The joint initiative of the Ministries of Urban Development and Railways has now widened the smart city development to one more area in each of the mission cities. Now, each city is required to select one area under their respective plans in the first phase.

3) According to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, many countries such as France, Japan, Germany, UK, South Korea and Belgium have expressed interest in redevelopment projects. Next week, a roundtable of domestic and overseas bankers will be organized to discuss financing of these redevelopment projects. Also, the redevelopment work at Habibganj railway station has already been awarded. Plans for Gandhinagar, Surat, Anand Vihar (Delhi) and Bijwasan are in advanced stages.

4) The MoU that has been signed today proposes two options for joint ventures that will help ensure the speedy redevelopment of railway station centred areas. The first option suggests an MoU between the Railways and the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for execution of Smart City Plans, with an equal share in equity. In the second model, National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) can be roped in with equal share among the three. NBCC can design, develop and execute the redevelopment plans on self-financing basis, the MoU says.

Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu has suggested that to start with 10 cities – Varanasi, Jaipur, Kota, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Thane, Margao(Goa), Bhubaneswwar, Lucknow, Tirupati and Puducherry – can be taken up for redevelopment with the involvement of NBCC.

5) The Ministry of Railways will be responsible for forming the Joint Ventures and the Ministry of Urban Development will work with the states and urban-local bodies to integrate railway station redevelopment as part of smart city development plans.

PPP Model would be applied in Gwalior Railway Station Modernization

gwalior-railway-stationGwalior: Under the smart station project of railway Ministry, Gwalior railway station is being considered in the list. To make the Gwalior station smart, shops of station Bajariya will be removed and some constructed buildings can be remove.

On the smart station project railway DRM, Gwalior Collector Sanjay Goyal, Gwalior SP Harinarayn Chari Mishra, Gwalior Commissioner SN Rupla along with other officers was present in the meeting.

In the meeting it has been decided that for the modernisation and the development in technology, modernisation will be done with the cooperation of public private partnership.

This work will be done with the cooperation of IRSDC, Municipal Corporation, Gwalior Development Authority, Gwalior Trade Fair, Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation. Gwalior Commissioner SN Rupla has conducted meeting to implement the plan with the Gwalior Collector Goyal, Indian Station Development Corporation Director Anil Kumar, Municipal Corporation Commissioner Anay Dwivedi and also the Pre-feasibility plan will be prepared by IRSDC and Municipal Commissioner.

Besides, he has said that Municipal Corporation can appoint the consultant for it and the expenses will be borne by IRSDC and Municipal Corporation. Further Gwalior Commissioner Rupla instructed to prepare the pre-feasibility plan which should cover all the benefit points and it should not face any hindrance when it will finally go for approval. In the meeting, it was decided that while shifting the housing board shops of Station Bajariya and housing board, officers will convened a meeting.

It is yet to be decided as where the shops and building would be shifted from Station Bajariya area. Apart from Gwalior, Railway Board has considered Jaipur, Gandhipur, Amritsar, Nagpur, Bayyappanahalli (Bangalore) Railway stations have been selected for Smart Station Project.

India will soon have world class Railway stations: Rail Ministry

Train journey in India will be a different experience altogether with upcoming world-class stations that will do away with long queues at station entry, untidy waiting halls and stinking toilets. 400 Railway Stations to get 100 Crore makeover, with Helipads, Executive Lounges and World Class Facilities

world class rail stnNew Delhi: Flamboyant buildings with airport-like facilities, helipad, executive lounges are going to be the characteristics of Indian Railway stations in the years to come. Train journey in India will be a different experience altogether with upcoming world-class stations that will do away with long queues at station entry, untidy waiting halls and stinking toilets.

The station buildings will wear a swanky look with separate terminals for arrival and departure like the ones at airports. While the work has started on development of Habibganj as the first world class station, the Indian Railways is in the process of finalising bids for other railway stations. These include Surat and Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Anand Vihar and Bijwasan railway stations in Delhi, Chandigarh, Shivaji Nagar in Pune and SAS Nagar in Mohali.

A railway ministry official said consultations are being held with foreign experts to develop these stations with world-class amenities. Sources said Uttar Pradesh will have over 12 world-class stations – the maximum in any Indian state. The French Railway has taken up the work of developing Ambala and Ludhiana as worldclass stations while the French experts have also inspected the New Delhi railway station.

A railway board official said countries like Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria have also shown interest in developing railway stations in India. Sources in the railway ministry said the government will spend nearly Rs 100 crore for the development of 400 railway stations that were announced in the Railway Budget.

world class rail stnsA railway board official said the stations will be developed by creating additional space that will also be used for commercial purposes like shopping malls, multiplexes, restaurants and offices.The most striking feature will, however, be separate terminals for arrival and departure of passengers. Such facilities are currently available only at airports.

“The proposed world class stations will have three levels. The top level will be used by outbound passengers while those arriving from trains will use subways in the basement to exit from the station building. There will be minimum passenger movement on the platforms,” said a senior official associated with the project. This aims at managing crowd at the railway stations that goes up manifold during festive rush. Habibganj station is the first railway station to be redeveloped through public private partnership mode under the station redevelopment programme of Indian Railway.

Total estimated cost of station redevelopment is Rs 100 crore while additional Rs 350 crore will be spent on commercial development. As per the plan, Habibganj will have have dedicated pick up and drop off parking facilities for the station users. Provision of parking for over 1,000 vehicles has been made at the stations.

“The world class stations will be designed as a multi modal transit hub. The stations will have adequate seating and waiting apace so as to reduce congestion. Also, these stations will have multiple entry/exits for better crowd management,” said railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.

“The stations will have segregated areas for passengers, commercial activities and railway officers. There will be dedicated approach roads for traffic to railway station along with municipal roads with its integration in circulating areas,” Saxena said. In Delhi, railways have planned overhaul of Anand Vihar terminal which caters to the trains bound for eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

An Integrated Hub:

Apart from creation of new facilities, the station will be integrated with Anand Vihar station of Delhi Metro and the interstate bus terminal (ISBT).

“As part of Anand Vihar redevelopment plan, railways will remodel the station building on the lines of the airport. The station building will be separate arrival and departure decks while there will be ample space for a hotel, restaurants, coffee shops, multiplex, retail outlets and offices. Business of all sorts will be accommodated at the station building,” officials said.

The redevelopment plan of Anand Vihar is in advanced stage; bids for it will be invited soon. The upcoming railway station at Bijwasan will have ample scope for commercial development.

According to railways, redevelopment of stations will be a major source of revenue generation besides benefiting lakhs of passengers every day. For commercial exploitation, railways plan to raise multi-storey buildings on unused land and lease them out to private firms. In the year 2015-16, the railways have posted a deficit of over Rs 32,000 crore and the initiative aims at increasing revenue generation by commercially exploiting its resources.

Railways allots first Station Revamp project to Consortium

The Indian Railways has chosen Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh as the first under its redevelopment project. The project involves modernization and upgradation of passenger amenities at stations by raising money through commercial development of railway land at these stations

Habibgunj Railway stationNew Delhi: The Indian Railways has chosen Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh as the first under its redevelopment project, which has been allotted to a consortium of Bhopal-based Bansal Construction and Indore-based Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India) Ltd.

The railway ministry plans to redevelop 400 stations across the country. The project involves modernisation and upgradation of passenger amenities at stations by raising money through commercial development of railway land at these stations.

For the Habibganj station, railways had shortlisted three developers—a consortium of Bansal Construction and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways, GMR Group and Ahluwalia Contracts India Ltd (ACIL)—based on technical bids, after which financial bids were opened, according to the Indian Railway Stations Development Corp. Ltd (IRSDC)—a joint venture between IRCON International Ltd and Rail Land Development Authority, created to oversee such projects.

S.K. Lohia, chief executive officer of IRSDC, said the project would cost around Rs.450 crore and a letter of acceptance has been given to the developer last week. The contractor has to deposit Rs.30 crore and start work on the project within a month from the date of issuance of the letter, he added.

The contractor was selected through the so-called Swiss Challenge method of awarding contracts, said a senior ministry official on condition of anonymity, adding that the process took more than a year to finalize.

The official said that in lieu of the project, the developer has sought 38 acres of land on 45 years’ lease. “It was a problem initially as the land was with railway for 30 years lease and it would expire this year. However, when Madhya Pradesh government was approached to extend the lease, they agreed to do so at a payment of Rs.23 lakh,” the official said.

The idea of setting up world-class railway stations was first introduced in the 2009-10 railway budget by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee. She had then announced redevelopment of 50 stations, including Habibganj. Though initial studies were carried out in 2010, it was only in 2015 that it was revived by railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

In his 2015-16 budget, Prabhu announced the station redevelopment programme under which 400 railway stations were to be redeveloped by inviting open bids. Under the project, the entire cost of redeveloping stations is to be met by leveraging “commercial development of vacant separable land and air space in and around the station”.

Railways seeks $500mn loan from World Bank to undertake redevelopment projects

World Bank to be Anchor Investor in Rail Development Fund. Around 400 Stations have been identified which will have improved passenger amenities, shopping malls, multiplexes, office complex, eateries and larger parking lots.

Indian Railways World BankNew Delhi: Indian Railway will seek USD 500 million from World Bank for undertaking redevelopment of some major stations as part of its ambitious station development plan.

Altogether 403 stations have been identified for redevelopment in a big way with improved passenger amenities including shopping malls, multiplexes, office complex, eateries and larger parking lots using vast land in possession of the public sector transporter.

Station development is a focus area for the cash-strapped behemoth and concerted efforts are being made to firm up a roadmap for it, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the station development project.

He said a proposal for seeking a loan of USD 500 million from World Bank with a moratorium of 7 years for undertaking redevelopment of some key stations is under process.

Besides, railways is also in discussion with some foreign entities to benefit from their expertise in developing stations.

While French Railway (SNCF) has been given Ambala and Ludhiana stations for redevelopment, the public transporter is also in talks with Germany and South Korea for some other stations.

According to the official, railways is exploring the possibility of involving South Korea for redeveloping the New Delhi station as a world class station.

The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) has been tasked with redeveloping eight stations – Habibganj, Bijwasan, Anand Vihar, Chandigarh, Shivaji Nagar, Surat, Gandhinagar and Mohali.

As a large number of stations are to be redeveloped, various modes and strategies are being planned, the official said.

A cabinet note has been initiated to entrust three identified stations to National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a Public Sector Undertaking under Urban Development Ministry on nomination basis. The cabinet note has been sent for inter-ministerial consultations, sources said.

Rail minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu had floated the idea of the fund after a visit to Washington DC in January 2016. Prabhu had told Business Standard in an exclusive interview last month the bank had expressed confidence in the railways’ ability to spend money judiciously.

“The corpus of that fund is yet to be decided but it may not be used only for Indian Railway projects and would be channelised for all rail-based projects including even Public Private Partnership (PPPs),” he had said.

The World Bank is understood to have given its in-principle approval for the creation of the fund and the proposal is now with the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). “We are ready with the basic structure. We will take it forward once other formalities are in place,” a senior rail ministry official said.

Another official close to the development said the fund to be created with World Bank as the anchor investor will be part of the government’s effort towards additional mobilisation of resources as the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) extended by the finance ministry is not sufficient.

“There is a limit to the extent to resources that can be utilised through GBS. While the ministry will always continue to source more GBS, efforts like the World Bank fund would form a key part of the Extra Budgetary Resources,” he said.

GBS is the centre’s financial assistance extended to railways and forms an important component of the Central Plan of the government. The railways receives resources to the tune of around Rs 40,000 crore annually in the form of GBS from the finance ministry and pays dividend to the centre.

The World Bank fund will be part of the efforts to attract commercial finance for financially-viable railway infrastructure projects in India. The Indian Railways plans to invest Rs 8.5 lakh crore over the next five years including Rs 1.21 lakh crore in the current fiscal.

PM calls to speed up re-development of Railway Stations

PM ModiNew Delhi: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today reviewed the progress in the key infrastructure sectors of railways and roads.

In the course of the review of the Railways sector, it was noted that the capital investment in 2015-16 was over Rs. 93,000 crore, which represents a massive increase of 65 per cent over the previous year, and is the highest-ever. Similarly, 1780 km of lines have been commissioned, and 1730 kilometres electrified during 2015-16, which represent the best performance on these metrics in railway history.

The Prime Minister stressed upon the need to speed up the redevelopment of Railway Stations, and urged the Railways to substantially raise its level of ambition in this regard. He emphasized the need for the Railways to upgrade and diversify the uses of its infrastructure. He reiterated that railway infrastructure in rural areas could be used for activities such as skill development, and this could also result in an increase in non-fare revenue for the railways.

In the roads sector, the Prime Minister was informed that over 6000 kilometres of highways were completed in 2015-16, while contracts for another 10,098 kilometres were awarded in the same period.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need to study various models of road development across the country, and adopt the best practices, so that more private investment can be brought into the highway construction sector.

He also stressed the need to decongest critical stretches, and adopt latest technologies for toll collection.

IR may soon get $500mil. World Bank loan for Stations Redevelopment project

Indian Railways World BankNew Delhi: After securing a soft loan from Japan to build India’s first bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the ministry of railways will soon wrap up a similar loan from the World Bank for $500 million with a moratorium on interest payments for seven years for the purpose of re-developing existing stations to world standards.

The rail ministry will also soon seek Cabinet approval to hand over three identified stations to largest public sector construction company NBCC to make them world class. The railways has short-listed eight stations for re-developing them to world-class standards, which include Habibganj (Lucknow), Bijwasan and Anand Vihar (Delhi), Chandigarh, Surat, Gandhinagar, Mohali and Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai).

“The ministry is in a final stage to rope in World Bank for a $500-million loan with a moratorium of seven years for undertaking the redevelopment of stations. This will be in addition to Ambala and Ludhiana for which the French Rail Corporation has been given the consultancy,” a senior official of the Railway Board said.

The ministry of railways is adopting various strategies for the re-development of stations to world-class status. Accordingly, a Cabinet note has been initiated to entrust three identified stations to the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) on nomination basis, added the official.

The ministry of railways would next month come out with a modal document approved by the Railway Board, which would be the basis for the private players to become part of the exercise for redevelopment of stations to world-class standard.

The Cabinet had last year approved a plan to develop 400 A1 and A category stations to the world class standard. The Railways has held consultations with a large number of construction companies, including L&T, Reliance, Tata, Sapoorji-Pollonji, Bharti, ATS for their views on the road-map for redevelopment of stations, said the official.

“After the Modal Document is made available to public in June, the zonal railways will begin inviting proposals from the private players to take part in the redevelopment exercise,” said the official. The Habibganj station (Lucknow) will be the first to be awarded to the private player for re-development. The Railways has constituted Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC), which will be the nodal agency to execute the re-development of the station project to the world class status.

13 Railway Stations in Haryana to have International Standards

Stations RedevelopmentChandigarh: Thirteen railway stations of Haryana would be redeveloped to International standards through Swiss Challenge methods by inviting bids from interested parties.

A spokesman of Haryana Government said that CM Manohar Lal Khattar has approved the proposal to appoint Director, Urban Local Bodies as Coordinating Officer and constitute  a Standing Group to expedite these projects.

The group members include besides Additional Chief Secretary, Town and Country Planning as Chairman, Chief Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority, Director, Urban Local Bodies, Concerned District Revenue and District Town Planner. The standing group will facilitate single window clearance from the Railway’s side to expedite these projects.

The spokesman said said that the Railway stations to be redeveloped included Ambala Cantt., Ballabgarh, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Jagadhri, Kalka, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak, Sonipat, Bhiwani, Hisar and Rewari.

In all, about 400 Railway stations are to be redeveloped all over the country and the project is being closely monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. The development of stations would enhance the overall aesthetics of the city.

The spokesman said that a redeveloped station is envisaged as an iconic structure with its architecture reflecting the culture and character of the city, providing state-of-the-art facilities for travelling public. PM Narendra Modi has also emphasised the priority of station redevelopment at various fora, he added.

US shows how Railway Stations can put Realty Growth on track

Metro RealtyNew Delhi: In giving its station a makeover, the Indian Railways can learn a lot from projects in developed countries that make optimal utilisation of real estate. This realisation was put to practice at the day-long workshop on Monday organised by the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) and World Resource Institute (WRI)-India, where the Hudson Yards redevelopment project in New York was discussed.

The Hudson Yards project involves five 50-90 storeyed commercial-cum-residential towers, malls and large public squares on a 28-acre expanse. The entire complex is being constructed over an operational rail yard. Urban development experts cite this as an example that can be emulated by Indian railway networks.

One of the most important aspects of the New York project is its integration with the rest of the city. “The rail yard was considered a big hole in the city. It was dead area. But this project will bring vibrancy to the area, as we will have commercial and residential spaces here,” said Charlotte Matthews, vice-president, Related Companies.

The integration with public spaces is an interesting angle of the redevelopment. “The iconic structures, which will be used for commercial and residential purpose, will become the nerve centre of the city,” said SK Lohia, CEO, IRSDC.

This American project can be the inspiration for the Indian Railways, which too is planning to redevelop the stations and the areas around them. Experts say it is possible to plan real estate development above the tracks. IRSDC, which is in the advance stages of planning its first few redevelopment projects in Bhopal and Delhi, can implement a lot of the things being done at the Hudson Yard. “For instance, the extensive use of green technology,” pointed out Lohia. “All the structures have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings.”

While housing is a crucial component in the Hudson project, IRSDC is not focusing on it in any of its project. As most the projects will be rented on lease for 45 years, ownership issues will prevent housing from being considered. However, urban planners pointed out that Transit Oriented Development (TOD) without housing is a futile exercise. “The redeveloped space will be dead after 8 pm,” said Amit Bhatt, director Transport, EMBARQ India. “Housing will not only provide dedicated clientele to the commercial complexes in the project, but also add vibrancy to them.”

Urban development experts said they would be happy with as limited a provision for car parking as possible as in the Hudson Yard project. “The whole purpose of TOD is defeated if we provide parking,” said Matthews. “The project area in New York is well-connected with the rest of the city. There are excellent public transport facilities 5-10 minutes’ walk away.” It is for this that experts in India say there is a need to amend TOD policies, which force developers to construct adequate parking facilities.

Another change that planners want is about open spaces. In India, they said, there is no clarity on the concept of public spaces. The TOD policy stresses on 20% of the total area being developed as open spaces. But urban planners say this percentage needs to be increased. “Look at the Hudson project, they have redeveloped 50% of the area into public space. We too have to provide people with active open spaces,” said Bhatt.

Anand Vihar and Bijwasan Stations set for a Revamp

station redevelopmentThe redevelopment and modernisation plan for Delhi’s Anand Vihar and Bijwasan railway stations is set to take off soon.

After Anand Vihar, bids have now been received for the Bijwasan redevelopment project and the railway authorities claim that the response has been excellent with many big names vying to get the project.

The modernisation work will be carried out by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), a Special Purpose Company (SPC) created for the redevelopment of stations, which is a joint venture of Ircon International Limited (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA). Apart from Anand Vihar and Bijwasan in Delhi, the IRSDC has been assigned the redevelopment of Chandigarh, Habibganj (Bhopal), Shivaji Nagar (Pune), Surat and Gandhinagar (Gurajat) and SAS Nagar (Mohali) stations.

At these stations, the IRSDC plans to upgrade passenger amenities, renovate platforms and improve circulating area. The cost of the upgrade is expected to come from commercial use of space around the stations.

Both Anand Vihar and Bijwasan railway stations are expected to become major transit hubs for Delhi. The Anand Vihar railway station is located close to an inter-State bus terminal and a Metro station, while Bijwasan is situated close to the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The IRSDC aims to provide seamless connectivity to passengers between these different modes of transport.

“We have received nine bids for the Bijwasan railway station from reputed firms. The bids for application for Anand Vihar were invited on February 22 and we received 13 bids,” said a senior IRSDC official.

“The bids are under evaluation at the moment, which will take some time. After that we will go for Request for Financial Proposals and the entire process will take about three to four months,” he said.

The official said that the work on the redevelopment of these two stations is expected to begin in 2016 itself. These two stations are expected to take the load off Delhi’s major railway stations such as Delhi Junction, New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Sarai Rohilla, etc., which have reached their saturation point. These two stations are expected to cater to two lakh passengers a day after their redevelopment. The Bijwasan station is expected to cater to passengers from Gurgaon, Dwarka, parts of West Haryana and also some parts of South Delhi, travelling towards western India. Anand Vihar is already handling many trains destined towards the eastern parts of the country and will be able accommodate more trains and passengers post-modernisation.

Railways ready with draft Framework for Developers to Redevelop 400 Stations

The railways has chalked out the parameters based on which it would select developers, and also explained the duties and responsibilities of developers. The developers have now been asked to send their suggestion by 15th January 2016 after which the railways would come out with a final document.

Stations RedevelopmentNew Delhi: Indian Railways has prepared a draft framework of rules for developers who wish to undertake contracts for re-development of 400 railways stations across the country, six months after Union cabinet gave its approval for such a move by inviting open bids in an attempt to bring in private investment to the public utility.

The railways has chalked out the parameters based on which it would select developers, and also explained the duties and responsibilities of developers. The developers have now been asked to send their suggestion by 15 January after which the railways would come out with a final document.

The draft framework says that developers have to get all clearances on their own for the re-development work. They also need to make safety arrangements for railway traffic during the construction.

The national carrier also wants the developers to allow private vendors operating under the commercial lease and licences of railways on stations till the end of their lease period.

The developers won’t be allowed to block rail traffic for more than two-three hours in a day or night and would also not be allowed track diversion.

On the revenue model, a senior railway ministry official said the railways will take 15-20% as upfront premium and rest on annual basis. “While earlier we had plan to take premium from developers on monthly basis, now we have decided to take 15-20% as up front premium and rest on annual basis. The change in revenue model has been done because the developers would be investing huge sums and would need money,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The final modalities are still to be worked out and it would depend on case-to-case basis, the official added.

“The bidders who would be submitting their plans would be compensated based on a compensation formula in terms of square feet and would also depend on case to case basis,” the official said.

Indian Railways had uploaded a draft tender document for invitation of proposals for re-development of 400 A1 and A category railway stations. It said that developers can apply as a single entity or under a consortium where change in composition would be allowed only at the bidding stage. A developer would be allowed to submit only one application per station.

Indicative facilities on re-developed stations:

  1. Station building to be an iconic structure with state-of-the-art facilities.
  2. Segregation of arrival/departure of passengers so that there is no conflict
  3. No parcel movement across the length of platforms
  4. Essential facilities – small retail shops, washroom, cloak room, drinking water, ATM, pharmacy, internet, food courts
  5. Integration of station with public/private transport systems
  6. Station structures to be green buildings
  7. While designing station, provision for future expansion of platforms and lines

Reliance Infra to bid for Stations Redevelopment Project

Reliance Infra to focus on projects that are less capital-intensive, but offering immediate revenue flows

rinfra focusMumbai: Anil Ambani Group company Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, which recently started investing in the defence sector, is also planning to bid for the Railway Ministry’s station improvement projects.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had made the announcement on redevelopment of stations for provision of better passenger amenities in the Railway Budget for the current financial year.

The Ministry has identified over 400 busy stations, including Dadar and Kurla in Mumbai, for redevelopment. It has not disclosed the project cost but industry calculations suggest that each station would need at least ₹60 crore for development.

Strategic Plan

A senior company executive told on condition of anonymity, that when the management took a call on investing in new businesses, defence, railways and smart cities were the three big sectors identified for fresh investments and future growth.

The executive said that the Rail Ministry would not allow an increase in passenger fares and a few billboards would not earn enough revenues. Therefore, money could only come from monetisation of the land and existing amenities around the stations,

Better amenities such as chargeable retiring rooms, shops, lounges and restaurants suitable for all budgets could be created at the stations.

But RInfra would only be looking at projects that were less capital intensive, with immediate revenue flow, the executive added.

Special Purpose Vehicle

A special purpose vehicle, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDC), which is a joint venture between Ircon International Ltd and Rail Land Development Authority, both under the Ministry, has been created.

A senior Railway Ministry official said that the ₹8.5-lakh-crore railway infrastructure modernisation plan has been attracting a number of private companies.

IRSDC has roped in one of the top global consulting firms to prepare a business plan for station modernisation.

Architecture firms have also been appointed to redesign the stations.

The plan will be ready by March 2016, after which bids would be called in phases, the official said.

CR furnish Kolhapur Station Revamp Plan to Railway Board for Approvals

B.K.Dadabhoy DRM, Pune Division
B.K.Dadabhoy DRM, Pune Division

Kolhapur (KOP): The Pune division of the Central Railway has sent a proposal for remodelling Kolhapur railway station to the Railway board. The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus here has been included in the Indian Railways plan for redevelopment of station buildings where a private party will develop the station with modern facilities.

B K Dadabhoy, Divisional Railway Manager from Pune, visited Kolhapur station on Wednesday morning and inspected the facilities. Dadabhoy was accompanied by senior divisional operations manager Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus station manager Sugreev Meena.

“The remodelling proposal has been sent to the Railway Board for final approval. Once it is cleared, interested parties can be invited to send their ideas for developing the station. Three more railway tracks will come up on the Gemstones building side. This proposal is likely to be accepted and cleared in the next financial year and is a major development for Kolhapur station,” said Tiwari.

Shivnath Biyani, member of the zonal railway users consultative committee, said, “The Kolhapur railway station building is almost 100 year old. There is shortage of space and this is proving to be a major hurdle in providing modern facilities to passengers. The entire building can undergo redevelopment as it is not a part of a heritage structure.”

A proposal to redevelop about 400 railways stations in metros and major cities was cleared by the union government in July this year. The Central Railway decided to redevelop 33 stations in its zone with the help of private parties.

Under this model, interested parties coming through open bids would develop the stations with their designs and business ideas while commercial development of real estate would be allowed by the zonal railways. These parties will also get some freedom for commercial utilisation of the space to recover the amount they had invested in redeveloping the stations.

The Central Railway has already invited private parties for redeveloping 33 stations under its jurisdiction including Dadar, Kalyan, Nagpur, Pune and Kolhapur. It has stated that private party will get all necessary support for undertaking the work.Most of these stations are not only large in its size but also overcrowded. Most of its facilities for passengers are failing short to accommodate growing movements. The redevelopment proposal is aimed at addressing all the problems in one go so that facilities such as proper gates, waiting rooms, facilities for officers and handling of new machinery can be handled properly and effectively.

Dysfunction Junction: Railway puts India on slow train to future

IRSDCL Station representationalNew Delhi: Flames leap into the air, swaying toward a bank of fuel tanks at the Mughalsarai railway yard in central India, while a man with a skinny hose struggles to extinguish a blazing pool of spilled diesel.

Yards away, in an air-conditioned office, station manager Bijoy Kumar Shah is unperturbed. It happens from time to time when fuel lines leak, he says, reviewing some papers as billowing black smoke blotted out the sun.

Elsewhere in the vast rail yard—which marshals trains from across India—the tracks are clogged with engines and railcars. One route, equipped to handle 78 trains, had 136. The trip to the nearest city on the way to Delhi can take eight hours instead of the usual two-and-a-half, says Shah in the matter-of-fact tone of many who work for the country’s rail system.

Dysfunction in Indian Railways is not a surprise.

The 162-year-old system is Asia’s oldest. It is the nation’s economic artery, employer of more than 1.3 million people, and the government’s most intractable problem. Unclogging its 65,000 kilometers of track is vital to any effort to develop the economy.

Most nations have an annual budget for government spending. India has two. One for Indian Railways, and one for everything else.

“If India is to grow at an 8 to 10%, or even a slower 6 to 8% growth path, railways will need to carry a lot more freight,” said Partha Mukhopadhyay, an economist who recently examined Indian Railways as part of a government-appointed panel. “And right now it doesn’t. It’s almost bursting at the seams.”

To take one example, economic expansion requires more power and in India, that means more coal. Hauling the coal to power stations means more rail cars.

“The capacity of railways to carry coal is totally exhausted at present,” said Rakesh Mohan, an executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who was tapped by the government to lead studies of the rail system published in 2001 and 2014. “It is absolutely essential to expand the capacity.”

“The capacity of railways to carry coal is totally exhausted at present.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose father made a living selling tea on a station platform, said last December that India must, “take the railways forward, and through the railways, take the country forward.” Speaking at his parliamentary constituency in the city of Varanasi, about 16 kilometers across the Ganges River from Mughalsarai, Modi said the rail system should be “the backbone of our economic growth.”

Last year, Modi picked Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, an accountant and lawyer by training, to run the rail ministry. Modi and Prabhu together represent “probably the best chance for India to revitalize its railways,” said Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman of Feedback Infra Private Ltd, which advises clients on construction investment.

This year the government announced a pilot programme allowing private investment to overhaul 400 stations across the country, a rare incursion of the private sector into an organization that is structured as a government ministry rather than a company.

Crucially, Modi also boosted spending to revive a plan for a series of freight-only rail corridors. Contracts worth Rs.17,500 crore have been finalized since last November, more than the Rs.12,500 crore spent in the whole of the previous eight years.

He’s won powerful supporters. Google chief executive officer (CEO) Sundar Pichai said in September that the company will provide high speed Internet Wi-Fi connection in 400 stations across the nation.

Indian Railways “is one of the most impressive things I have seen in my life—7,500 stations,’’ said Pichai, during a meeting with Modi at Google’s campus in Mountain View, California, in September. He said he remembered taking the train every six months as a student to his college in Kharagpur and back.

Begun during British colonial rule, when the first train chugged 34-kilometers from Mumbai to Thane in the early 1850s, the sprawling network has become emblematic of Indian government structures that are at once powerful, byzantine and inefficient.

To succeed, Modi’s irresistible force of change must overcome the immovable object of India’s bureaucracy. And nobody does bureaucracy like Indian Railways.

It not only owns the tracks, train stations and marshalling yards, but schools, hospitals, recreation clubs and hotels for its staff. Sometimes, as in the case of Mughalsarai, entire cities grew as an extension of British rail infrastructure.

The town’s old British Gymkhana Club, renovated for Indian Railways officers, suggests that the ghost of those colonial ways lingers. There’s a new billiard room and a large meeting hall lined with white sofas with paisley prints, and a movie screen.

“A swimming pool is also available,” said Prem Kumar, the club’s manager and a railways employee. “Only for officers, not for staff.’’

India needs to move more than 23 million passengers on rail lines that could run one and a half times around the world

Meanwhile, the country still needs to convert about 6,000 miles of track just to have a uniform rail gauge. There are no timetables for freight cars—goods just show up when they get there—and four out of 10 lines run at 100% or more of capacity.

“Is it surprising that the ordinary passenger train or a goods train cannot average more than around 25 kilometers an hour?’’ (16 miles per hour) said railways minister Prabhu in his budget speech to parliament in February. At a conference in Singapore during October, he said that part of the problem was seven decades of underinvestment.

The rail ministry has a planned 2015-16 budget of Rs.1 trillion with almost 42% of that coming from the central government. Analysts who’ve reviewed the accounts say the bookkeeping is so opaque as to be inscrutable.

Bibek Debroy, an economist at a government think tank who’s been a prominent voice for reform under Modi’s administration, says the system functions on what he calls, “the ceiling method.”

“You look up at the ceiling and cook up a figure,” said Debroy, who headed a panel put together by the Ministry of Railways that published an extensive report this year. That’s not only “for you and me—it is impossible for railway people to also figure out what is going on.”

In an interview in London last week, Prabhu said that if that were the case, “then more than $15 billion worth of investment from around the world would not have been made by investors.’’ He said, though, that the railway was carrying out a major reform of its accounting system and that boosting efficiency was a continuous process.

“We are trying to improve all the time,” he said.

In an office in New Delhi, spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena sat behind a desk piled with stacks of documents and folders, some of which reached his eye level, and described the challenge.

Each day, India needs to move more than 23 million passengers on rail lines that could run one and a half times around the world.

Spending on non-core units, such as 125 railway-funded hospitals and 168 schools, is “under examination,” Saxena said. Asked about the fire at Mughalsarai, which eventually did burn out, he asked for details of the incident. He added the sheet of paper to the piles on his desk.

Part of the difficulty in revamping the railway is that millions of impoverished Indians rely on its subsidized fares. The railways report bearing more than $3.8 billion a year in passengers and goods at below cost, including “essential commodities of mass consumption” such as fruit and vegetables.

Standing in a general-class train, bicycle rickshaw driver Sanjeev Kumar looks ready to collapse during a 25-hour journey to attend his sister-in-law’s funeral in the eastern city of Howrah.

“I didn’t get a seat,” said Kumar, 32, his shirt streaked with sweat and his feet trodden on at every jostle of the train. About 100 people were crammed in a car designed for 40. In the stifling heat, seven men are squeezed onto a small bench, women sit on the floor and others stretch out on overhead luggage racks. Kumar’s Rs.335 ticket cost him three days’ earnings.

An attempt to close 40 unprofitable railroad branch lines met with such public uproar and complaints by state governments that only 15 were shut. Low ticket prices mean that while 70% more passenger trains than freight trains run every day, they generate only 25% or so of revenue.

Rank-and-file railway workers fear that largescale privatization or foreign involvement may cost them their jobs. The All India Railwaymen’s Federation union, which claims more than a million members, said in a December 2014 letter to a committee convened by the railways ministry that it “strongly opposes induction of FDI in the Indian Railways, and this will seriously disturb industrial peace.’’ There hasn’t been a national rail strike since 1974.

For many, working for the railway is not only a job for life, but a position of importance. Jamil Ahmad spent 36 years as a railwayman, rising to the position of a chief train inspector, the head of ticket collections.

On his final day at the age of 60, Ahmad sat in an air conditioned car on a Kalka Mail train in neatly pressed linen pants and blue dress shirt. As the train pulled into a station, he clambered down on to the platform, where a drummer and horn player waited to announce his arrival, one of them waving a fist full of rupee notes. As the music began, Ahmad was showered with flower petals, and garlands of flowers were hung round his neck.

He jerks a thumb over his shoulder toward the general-class cars. “There’s a big shortage in general carriages. There isn’t enough space and they come into the sleeper cars, and we can’t stop them.”

In the local headquarters at Mughalsarai, senior engineering official S.K. Rai takes a piece of paper to try to describe the local management structure. As he draws the cascading branches of 92 officers, he runs out of paper.

He says about 2,000 people work in Mughalsarai’s long, four-story railways headquarters, from the men who deliver trays of tea to those who neatly handprint information boards in their superiors’ offices.

The railway funds at least seven health facilities and three schools in the town for employees and their families, paying more than Rs.3.42 crore a year for teachers and staff.

At the high school, established in 1876 by British officials and now in a dilapidated 1947 building, chunks of concrete are missing from the ceilings.

When the roof leaks, principal C.N. Yadav always knows who to call: Indian Railways. (Bloomberg)

Indian Railways announces Guidelines to re-develop 400 Railway Stations

The Railways has announced initial guidelines for the proposed re-development of 400 stations in the country, mandating that an applicant has to have a net worth of at least Rs 50 crore…

IR StationsNew Delhi: The Railways has announced initial guidelines for the proposed re-development of 400 stations in the country, mandating that an applicant has to have a net worth of at least Rs 50 crore at the end of the last financial year to be eligible to bid for it.

Already, the ministry has held an informal meeting with potential investors to understand expectations of private players, sources said. Representatives of real estate bigwigs, including Shapoorji Pallonji, Hindustan Construction Company, Larsen & Tubro, ATS Infrastructure, GMR, Raheja Developers, Tata Infrastructure and Reliance Infrastructure met railway officials in Delhi last week for this purpose, they added.

The ministry has also declared necessary details of the railway stations, including land plan of the station that indicates the area of its buildings, yard, circulating area and vacant land area which can be spared for commercial development as well as current encroachment area. Besides other details, the Railway has uploaded on its website an indicative list of amenities to be provided in these stations for their re-development for interested parties.

Considered to be a game changer for the railways, the national transporter plans to re-develop 400 stations through an innovative public-private partnership model, the Swiss Challenge. The cabinet earlier this year had cleared the proposal.

The national transporter has envisioned a plan to change the face of these identified stations and have state-of-the-art facilities like helipads, shopping outlets, food courts, medical facilities, integration with public/private modes of transport, the segregation of passengers according to arrival and departure and green stations with optimum use of natural light and ventilation.

Attractive Revenue Schemes needed at Stations for Development: Bibek Debroy

Since 2009, there has been a detailed manual of standards and specifications for railway stations, with every passenger utility you can think of, notes Bibek Debroy.

I doubt that you have heard of Sultanpur or Barahkalan. These are on the Jind-Panipat route.

debroy opinionsJind and Panipat are reasonably well connected by train. I think the villages of Sultanpur and Barahkalan are also reasonably well connected. Sultanpur is in Gurgaon district and is quite close to Gurgaon and Farrukh Nagar.

Barahkalan (the name originates from a temple to the Varaha incarnation) village is in Jind district and is quite close to Jind. But obviously residents of Sultanpur and Barahkalan didn’t think so.

They wanted a railway station catering to needs of both villages. Since IR (Indian Railways) wasn’t building it, villagers got together, collected the money (Rs 25 lakh) and built a railway station along that Jind-Panipat stretch.

All railway stations have codes. This one has SPBK. I still don’t know whether any trains actually stop at SPBK. It doesn’t show up in schedules.

There is yet another such railway station in Haryana, Lakhan Majra, with a code of LNMA. LNMA is on the Delhi-Bathinda route and passenger trains do stop there. Originally, there was no railway station.

However, residents of nine villages got together, crowd-sourced resources, provided labour and built a station. Nor are such instances restricted to Haryana.

There is a similar story about Sankhapur village in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, though Sankhapur is really a halt, not a proper railway station.

These collective Dashrath Manjhi type stories are about building railway stations.

There are instances of maintenance too. For instance, with IR sanction, an NGO named Die Hard Indian adopted King’s Circle station in Mumbai, primarily for cleaning and beautification. The station was transformed.

Though not in the same category (because the initiative was driven by the local IR health inspector and because the intervention is limited), I should mention Aluva railway station in Kerala.

Passengers chuck empty plastic bottles on tracks. Pick them up, plant China Roses in them and create blooming barricades between the tracks.

Less litter, prettier station, fewer people cross tracks (they use overbridges) and as an unintended consequence, fewer accidents from crossing tracks.

There are problems with counting the number of railway stations. 7,500 is a rough figure. Largely based on revenue, there is a gradation of railway stations from A1 to F.

Measured in terms of that static revenue, A1 and A are important stations and their number is roughly 400.

All of us would like better stations, though most of us are interested in A1, A and C (the suburban lot).

Since 2009, there has been a detailed manual of standards and specifications for railway stations, with every passenger utility you can think of.

If we can adhere to those standards, most passengers will be happy. I can give you a long list of Railway Budget speeches that promised better stations.

There was a model station scheme, which then became an Adarsh station scheme.

There are supposed to be 1,000-odd Adarsh stations, which fall far short of the template. Had those models worked, we wouldn’t have complained about stations today.

Since that IR-driven attempt failed, or because IR doesn’t possess resources, there is now talk of the private sector coming in, domestic as well as foreign, with the expression “passenger terminal” used instead of station.

The private sector can construct, develop or maintain.

Using examples of T1 and T3 terminals from Delhi airport, I think it is useful to think this through. Strictly speaking, there was no “development” in T1.

An existing terminal was upgraded, no different from what was done in the new airport terminal in Kolkata. T1 is hardly greenfield. T3 (and Mumbai) represent development, because land was tapped and developed. T3 is essentially greenfield. The point is simple.

Private sector costs of capital (both debt and non-debt) are higher than public sources. Passenger and freight services from terminals will never offer adequate revenue options.

That’s only possible with real estate development, a lesson from other countries too. Many station-related services are already outsourced to private parties, except they tend to be disaggregated piece-meal fragmented contracts.

There is a case for private management of entire terminals, with long-duration integrated contracts, but revenue sources will primarily have to be annuities paid by government.

Nor do I see how narrow upgradation is possible without public funding. Development is a different matter. But there, the critical test is whether land is available for real estate development, not whether a station is A1 or A.

Sure, this will be reflected in bids, or lack of bids, by private parties, when stations are opened up for bidding.

To dampen our optimism a bit, figures on IR owning vast quantities of land can be misleading. Strict vacant land, available for commercial use, is around 600 hectares, now with Railway Land Development Authority.

Unfortunately, not all of this is around attractive stations. My offhand guess is that around 40 stations (out of 7,500) possess enough land for some kind of development and no more than 20 will possess attractive revenue streams.

Think of Chandigarh, Habibganj, Shivaji Nagar, Bijwasan, Anand Vihar, Surat and Bhopal. Developed, even those will bring a whiff of change. But the larger problem remains.

The writer is a member of the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog. The views are personal.

Japan to modernise 400 Railway Stations in India

Indian railways to invest $140 bn, Japan to modernise stations. A Japanese delegation will soon visit India to study the opportunities for industries in the railway station development plan of Indian railways

Tokyo: Japan has agreed to modernise railway stations across the country while participating in Indian Railways’ $140 billion investment over the next five years. A Japanese delegation will soon visit India to study the opportunities for industries in the railway station development plan of railways as the public transporter has identified 400 stations to be upgraded in private investment, an official release said here today.

Chhatrapati Shivaji TerminusRailway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is in Japan to strengthen cooperation in rail sector, held a series of high-level meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso among other ministers and senior officials and has highlighted that the Indian public transporter would be the next major destination for infrastructure investment worth USD 140 billion, it said.

Participation of Japanese railways and Japanese companies in various areas of Indian Railways with the aim of modernisation and technology upgradation was also emphasised in the discussions.

While agreeing for cooperation on modernisation and upgradation, Japan has agreed to assist the public transporter in achieving its zero-accident mission.

Railways research wing – Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), will sign an MoU with Railway

Technical Research Institute of Japan to carry out research work on acquiring modern technology for the public transporter, as per the finalisation of the action plan.

Participation of Japanese railways and Japanese companies in various areas of Indian Railways with the aim of modernisation and technology upgradation was also emphasised in the discussions

Prabhu also held meetings with heads of leading financial institutions and highlighted the investment prospects in railways in the coming years. Railways has chalked out a plan to investment USD 140 billion in infrastructure upgradation in the next five years, the release said.

Japan will also provide its expertise and technology in solving problems of sanitation including the development of waterless, odourless toilets in trains and at stations, it added.

Besides, the country has also agreed to assist Indian Railways in development of a legal and regulatory framework on high speed railway here, the official statement said.

Prabhu is on a two-nation visit to Japan and Korea since September 7.

Major Railway Stations in Mumbai to get Medical Centres, Helipads

A view of Vashi Railways Station, also known as International Infotech Park. The 20 suburban stations will be redeveloped on the lines of Vashi in Navi Mumbai, with commercial space planned in the building above the platforms
A view of Vashi Railways Station, also known as International Infotech Park. The 20 suburban stations will be redeveloped on the lines of Vashi in Navi Mumbai, with commercial space planned in the building above the platforms

Mumbai: Multi-storey structures with modern amenities have been planned for the redevelopment of busy suburban stations, the guidelines for which have been finalised by the Railway Board. Swanky buildings with state-of-the-art facilities, not to mention of medical centres and helipads at terminuses, and office complexes at major suburban stations are some of the guidelines laid down for the redevelopment of selected stations in the city, the plans for which have been finalised. Work is expected to begin this financial year.

Under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 3, the suburban stations to be redeveloped are Mumbai Central, Lower Parel, Dadar (W), Bandra, Andheri, Goregaon, Borivali, Mira Road, Bhayandar and Virar on the Western line, and Dadar (C), Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane, Dombivli, Kalyan and Shahad on the Central line, besides Wadala Road and Chembur on the Harbour Line.

The Railway Board has also listed a number of stations in the A1 and A category (outstation trains) for redevelopment, including Mumbai CST, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kalyan, Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus.

There are 15 broad guidelines for the redevelopment. These include a station building with an iconic structure and all modern facilities, congestion-free entry/exit points, segregation of arrival/departure of passengers and adequate concourse besides user-friendly international signage understandable by all sections of society.

The redeveloped stations will also have essential facilities including catering, small retail stalls, washrooms, ATM, pharmacy, internet facility, etc. The stations will be integrated with other modes of public/private transport systems, both on the east and west.

Interestingly, Clause 11 and 12 of the indicative facilities calls for a helipad and medical centres at the stations.

The guidelines further state that the buildings should have well illuminated circulating areas with optimum use of natural ventilation and lighting, sufficient provision for pick-up and drop facilities and parking. While designing the stations, provisions must be made for future expansion of platforms/lines, etc.

An official told Mirror that the business aspect of the plan will be such that the money gained from real estate development will be sufficient to cover the entire cost of station redevelopment.

“To ensure we receive only serious proposals, we have taken certain precautions like the interested party needs to have proper understanding of the Railway’s needs and should be interacting with field officials. All proposals will be examined for feasibility by a Standing Technical Committee and then by a Standing Financial Committee. This will ensure the proposal does not fall through,” the official said.

Once this is done, the proposals will be examined by an independent committee of eminent experts having domain knowledge, who will be nominated by the general manager.

“Most stations are simple basic structures with platforms, a roof and a permanent station building, that was built decades ago,” the official said. “The redevelopment project will convert Mumbai’s main stations into comprehensive transport hubs, the kind of which the city truly deserves.”

Private Sector to play a Big Role in Redevelopment of 400 Railway Stations

New Delhi: The proposal to let the private sector play a big role in redeveloping 400 railway stations is a very good one given how cash-strapped Indian Railways (IR) is. Even at a conservative estimate of R100 crore per station, the revamp will cost Rs 40,000 crore, which IR is unlikely to be able to spare given its other commitments. In a slightly different approach to PPP (public private participation), IR wants to try out the Swiss Challenge method for bidding out projects.

A couple of states — Gujarat and Rajasthan, for instance — have tried out this route. Typically, such auctions are used to build roads, ports, bridges or railways in the core sector, with the private sector taking the initiative to execute the project. The way this works is that there is first an unsolicited bid which can be subsequently matched, or bettered, by other players, following which the government awards a contract — the idea is to encourage innovation and high-end engineering capabilities.

While on the face of it, re-designing a railway station may not call for a very high degree of skill, it might nonetheless be worthwhile to try out the Swiss Challenge process because accommodating hotels, restaurants, shopping arcades, car parks and so on within the limited space will require enhanced architectural competence, and any innovation cannot hurt.

However, to make sure the PPP route works, IR must ensure the developer has all necessary clearances in hand before the work begins; there’s little point in playing the blame-game after the project is on the verge of being stalled as has happened in some other sectors. Given that the developer will earn the bulk of his revenues by monetising real estate, IR needs to design contracts carefully.

The last thing it wants is the kind of dispute that arose in the case of the Delhi airport where there was a dispute over whether revenues from developing commercial real estate in the airport area were ‘revenue’ or ‘debt’. At the same time, the developer must be allowed to make a reasonable return on the investment because there will be few takers otherwise for such projects in the future.

IR must eschew the typical government mindset which views the private sector suspiciously believing it is out to make a quick buck. Given interest rates remain relatively elevated at 11-12% today, developers would be looking to earn a rate of return of 16-17% for the project to even be worthwhile.

Also, any developer would be looking for a steady stream of business over the next few years, else it would not be worthwhile for it to develop any expertise in the field; IR cannot have rules that cap the number or value of projects that developers can hope to participate in for fear of allegations that it has behaved in a partisan manner. The cash-strapped IR will also do well to keep in mind that modernising railway stations are its best bet for involving the private sector, and will probably involve the least resistance from the unions.

400 Railway Stations to be Redeveloped using ‘Swiss Challenge Method’

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the redevelopment of 400 railway stations, and added that they would be redone using the Swiss Challenge method. “The Cabinet has approved the redevelopment of railway stations. 400 railway stations to be redeveloped using the Swiss Challenge method. The Cabinet has also decided that 400 railway stations will be redeveloped across the nation,” Jaitley told media here. The stations will be offered for development by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around stations. The redevelopment is on “as is where is” through open invitation from interested parties with their design and ideas.

What is Swiss Challenge Method

A Swiss challenge is a form of public procurement in some (usually lesser developed) jurisdictions which requires a public authority (usually an agency of government) which has received an unsolicited bid for a public project (such as a port, road or railway) or services to be provided to government, to publish the bid and invite third parties to match or exceed it.  Some Swiss challenges also allow the entity which submitted the unsolicited bid itself then to match or better the best bid which comes out of the Swiss challenge process. It is a form of regulating public procurement. An example of this is the recently announced Mega Film City Venture by the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) in which JDA is planning to fund the venture using Swiss Challenge Philosophy.

Swiss Challenge System

As the name itself suggests Swiss Challenge System is a new bidding process to help private sector initiative in core sector projects. It’s an offer made by the original proponent to the government ensuring his process to be best (in terms of effectiveness including both the factors cost and time) by his initiative as a result of his own innovative approach or on the demand of the government to perform certain task. The Swiss challenge system, like the bonus system, further allows third parties to make better offers (challenges) for a project during a designated period with simple objective to discourage frivolous project, or to avoid exaggerated project development costs. Then accordingly, the original proponent gets the right to counter-match any superior offers given by the third party.

There are two different patterns. It’s up to the government to decide which one to adopt. The two main ways are:

  1. The government can either purchase the intellectual property rights for a project concept from the proponent or then award the project through a competitive bidding process in which no bidder has a predefined advantage.
  2. The government can offer the original proponent an advantage in a competitive bidding process. In this case the government should create rewards that satisfy the original proponent while still allowing a truly competitive process.

However it has been observed that in both bonus and Swiss challenge systems it is not easy to find the right balance between incentives to propose beneficial projects and incentives for third parties to submit counter proposals. In Korea and the Philippines, however, very few projects have been successfully challenged. In Chile the probability of a successful challenge appears to be high, though experience is limited. In an effort to find the right balance, some countries (such as Argentina) have begun to explore hybrid systems combining elements of the bonus system and the Swiss challenge system. However, in some countries the proposer does have certain advantages. Unlike, the lowest bidder will not be given the work order for the project. Instead, the participant who floats the design and concept for the project will have the first right of refusal.

There are various attributes, which the government takes into account while dealing with the Swiss challenge system it includes:

1. Offering cost reimbursement: Some countries such as Chile and South Africa allow reimbursement of original project proponents for their project concept or project development costs. The advantage given to the original proponent in the bidding is usually intended to compensate for use of the project concept. In addition, the bidding documents sometimes specify reimbursement for project development costs by the winning bidder or the government. Other countries (such as Korea and the Philippines) allow no reimbursement of project development costs. Advantage of offering cost reimbursement maintains private sector interest during the development phase of an infrastructure project, helps to ensure that the source of ideas is not limited to large investors with deep pockets, and encourages proponents to allocate the resources needed to ensure that projects are professionally developed.

2. Setting time limits:  Government often sets time limits on the approval and bidding phases. Time constraints on counter proposals give an obvious competitive advantage to the original project proponent. The proponent has already spent much time and effort preparing the project and thus is much more familiar with its characteristics. By contrast, a challenger may have as little as 60 days in some countries (such as the Philippines) to prepare a counterproposal. Many potential challengers may be unwilling to compete without sufficient time to prepare.

Problems

The questions relating to legal validity of using the Swiss challenge system when a counterproposal contains different specifications than the original proposal was always being raised. The problem was being observed at the time of construction of International Passenger Terminal 3 in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where several issues relating to validity of system were being raised. The challenger was eventually awarded the concession.

Redevelopment of Railway Stations could come up in Cabinet meet

New Delhi: A proposal for redevelopment of railway stations across the countries, based on suggestions obtained from interested players, could be taken up for consideration by the Union Cabinet tomorrow.

The stations would be redeveloped through a unique model of ‘as is where is’ basis through a much simpler process for faster redevelopment, with the focus more on vertical expansion.

“The stations will be available for development on ‘as is where is’ basis to exploit the space and air rights on concession basis. Land will not be sold.

“Anyone can participate in this bidding with their designs and business ideas by providing the operational requirements ofrailways for running trains at these stations,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said in his budget speech this year.

The proposal, which could come up for consideration in the Union Cabinet meet tomorrow, also seeks to set up a monitoring cell to ensure adherence to timelines even as railways have invited the state governments and the local bodies to be our partners in the endeavour, sources said.

Earlier moves to redevelop the stations and transforming them into world-class facilities had met with “little success”.

The minister had observed that the existing processes for redevelopment are time-consuming as there are several stages involved.

They include ‘inception and pre-feasibility report’, appointment of architect, technical consultants, financial and legal consultants, in-principle approval of local authorities, request for qualification, shortlisting of bidders, and request for technical proposals.

Chandigarh Railway station gets Chandigarh Administration’s nod to convert into World Class facility

Major infrastructure development is expected on the Panchkula side of the railway station where the Railways has ample land

Chandigarh (CDG): The Chandigarh Administration on Thursday gave green signal to development plans of the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) to convert Chandigarh railway station into world-class facility.

In 2012, Chandigarh was selected among six railway stations in India for upgradation of passenger amenities. To arrange money for their upgradation, IRSDC was subsequently set up by the government of India whose main objective was to develop commercial area on railway land and the money realised from their commercial development was to be spent on these railway stations.

In Chandigarh, the Indian Railways has approximately 500 acres of vacant land behind the local railway station. As per its original plan submitted to the administration in 2013, IRSDC wanted to develop 60 lakh square feet of commercial space but the administration was not convinced. It wanted the agency to equally put focus on creating the warehousing facility, which is a necessity in the city.

After a series of negotiations, the local administration has finally allowed IRSDC to develop 25 lakh square feet of commercial space, out of which 4 lakh square feet has been reserved for hotel purpose and the rest for multi-purpose commercial use, which includes offices and malls.

Along with it, the administration has directed the railway body to create warehousing on 15 acres of land, which is set to be a facility for trade and industry across the region. Besides, planning for the main approach road to the Chandigarh Railway Station will provide for widening up to 60 metres within railway land. An underpass has been proposed which will link existing alternate route from Industrial Area Phase-I and the road coming from Panchkula between Sector 17 and 18.

The railway station will be a four-storey building and will be made in accordance with the prevailing regulations of the Chandigarh Administration and as per provisions of the Chandigarh Master Plan 2031.

Modern signalling equipment factory in an area of 10 acres has also been approved.

Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, S P Sharma, GM, IRSDC, said, “After getting official confirmation from the Chandigarh Administration, we will go ahead seeking permissions to lay down basic facilities like sewerage, electricity and water connection on the area approved for commercial purpose. Then a financial development plan and criteria will be prepared based on which private developers will be invited through bidding process who will be handed over approved space on a leasehold basis for commercial purpose.”

It is learnt that the agency plans to realise a minimum of Rs 500-600 crore by developing the commercial space and spend that money on the facelift of the local railway station. As per their original plan, there will be re-development of the station building, platform surfaces, circulating areas of the station besides modern parking.

Germany-based GMP International has prepared the overall architectural designs, as per which, the local station will have separate arrival and departure facilities of international standards. Then there will a wide concourse area on the first floor (on the lines of airport) where passengers can wait for their trains and spend quality time amid facilities like food courts and shopping area.

Major infrastructure development is expected on the Panchkula side of the railway station where the Railways has ample land.

There is also a provision to increase the number of platforms from existing six to 10 with separate connectivity for Chandigarh metro as well. Sharma said that overall development of both commercial area and railway station would take a minimum of three to four years. Divisional manager of Ambala circle A K Kathpal said while approval by the administration was welcome, the real challenge for the IRSDC was to prepare a plan, lucrative enough for the investors so that they come forward and invest in the commercial space developed by the agency.

On the cards

  • 25 lakh square feet of commercial development including four lakh square feet of hotel space around Chandigarh railway station
  • 15 acres of warehousing facility
  • Modern signalling equipment factory in an area of 10 acres
  • Re-development of the station building, platform surfaces and circulating areas
  • Passengers’ segregation with separate arrival and departure
  • Wide concourse area on first floor for quality time of the passengers
  • Number of platforms to increase from 6 to 10
  • Development towards Panchkula side of the station
  • An underpass linking existing alternate route from Industrial Area Phase-I and road coming from Panchkula between Sector 17 and 18.

Railways calls upon Industrialists to come forward for Development of Railway Stations on PPP model

Jodhpur: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday called upon industrialists to come forward for the development of railway stations on PPP model and assured them of full assistance from his ministry.

Addressing industrialists at the Jodhpur Industries Association hall on the second day of his Jodhpur visit, Prabhu termed the city as commercial hub of the country for its entrepreneurship and availability of minerals, specially lime.

He said these features can play an important role in taking the country to the desired heights in manufacturing sector.

On tourism potential in Rajasthan, Prabhu said the Central and state governments together are forming a company to explore the tourism potential in the state and addressing the rail-related issues in a better way.

“This company will generate funds for strengthening of rail infrastructure, making and implementing new projects and enhancement in the rail and passengers’ facilities,” he said.

Considering the tourism potential in Rajasthan, a new tourism policy will be drafted soon, which will provide new direction to the tourism industry in the state, Prabhu said.

He also met the erstwhile ruler of Jodhpur Gaj Singh II on Friday to explore the possibilities wherein the Indian Heritage Hotels’ Association (IHHA) and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would work together for the promotion of tourism.

The discussions were centred around restoring and developing the heritage properties and unused ancient rail lines as a part of a tourist circuit. Singh said that heritage tourism has a huge potential and these properties can be utilised and promoted as added tourism attraction.

Railways to announce new Policy on Station Development: Prabhu

Kolkata (KOAA): The Railways would soon announce a new policy aimed at developing the condition of stations by inviting “partners”, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.

“We are coming out very soon with a regime for station development by inviting partners,” Prabhu said at a function here without elaborating further on who these partners would be.

“There are partners who can look after station development as the stations have huge potential,” he said later at a press conference.

The minister said, “If we get interested partners for developing the stations, then it is welcome,” adding that the Railways would have to come out of “unnecessary restrictive practices” which were “thwarting its growth”.

Primary job of the Railways was to provide transport, he said.

Prabhu said that the Railways had been suffering from “massive” lack of investments.

“We must do the same thing as China had done. China had made huge investments in developing the railway network. Railways will have to invest substantially,” he said.

This, he said, would help in building a world class cargo movement network. “An investment of Rs 8.5 lakh crore had been planned for the next five years,” Prabhu said.

Prabhu also said that the Railways were also inviting the state governments to form companies jointly contributing capital and take up projects considered important for the respective states.

“We have already MoUs in this regard with 20 state governments and urging all to do so,” he said.

Surat Railway station gets 24×7 CCTV surveillance

Surat (ST):  With the installation of 43 high resolution closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, Surat’s railway station is now under round-the-clock surveillance. The cameras have been installed on platforms, ticketing areas and other strategic spots in the last two days to keep a close vigil on the illegal activities and suspicious movement of those in the station premises.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) at Mumbai Shailendra Kumar was in the city on Thursday to inaugurate the CCTV cameras and other projects including raising the height of platform number 2 and 3. He told “There were 32 CCTV cameras installed earlier, but they were not capable to detect faces and were of very low resolution. Thus, we decided to replace them with high-resolution surveillance cameras.”

Kumar announced that Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) is all set to take over the sanitation of the railway station in the next couple of months. An agreement has been signed between the western railway and SMC in this regard.

On the re-development of Surat railway station, Kumar said, “The work has been put on fast track. The Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) is preparing the final designs and work orders would be given soon.”

Sources said that the railway platforms and the main entrance are always occupied by beggars and suspicious persons loitering. A separate monitoring room has been set-up to watch the movements of people. On finding any suspicious movement, the railway protection force (RPF) would be alerted.

“More than 130 passenger trains pass through Surat in a day. Thus, safety of the passengers is of utmost importance,” said Kumar.

Web-based bidding system for station redevelopment project

New Delhi: Railways will opt for web-based bidding system for involvement of private players in upgrading of stations across the country.

“The existing stations were constructed almost a century ago and are congested now. Population have increased since then and we have to expand stations to provide better amenities,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here today.

Prabhu said the entire process involving private participation in station redevelopment scheme will be transparent.

“We will soon come out with RFQ (request for quotation) for station development. We have identified six/seven stations for it and work will be taken up for two stations at first. It will be a web-based tendering system,” he said.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that stations should provide airport like facilities, Prabhu said railway stations have more footfalls than airport.

“Whatever revenue we will earn through redevelopment it will be ploughed back for passenger amenities,” he said.

Asked why new trains were not announced in the Rail Budget this time, Prabhu maintained that he is not averse to launching new train but addition of more trains will choke the routes further.

New train should run but no new announcement, he said and added, “Our main trunk routes between Delhi and Mumbai and between Delhi and Kolkata are heavily congested. The Delhi-Kolkata route passes through Bihar and UP.”

Prabhu also mentioned the over-congestion in the Allahabad-Mughal Sarai section in Delhi-Kolkata route.

The route is already occupied by two times more than its capacity and even a small asset failure has huge effect on the route delaying several trains for hours, the minister said.

He said that the railways is currently reviewing the requirement to minimise the impact of asset failure.

“We have received requests from all our MPs about the new trains and the review process is on,” he said.

Prabhu also mentioned about the launching of customer portal service for registering complaints and suggestions.

“We have launched a customer portal where one can register complaints and give suggestion,” he said.

Asked on the possibilities of running bullet train in the country, Prabhu said there is a requirement for high speed train but time line cannot be given at this stage.

Feasibility studies are on for running bullet train on Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Chennai routes. While Japan is involved in Mumbai-Ahmedabad section, China is doing it in the Delhi-Chennai route.

“We will take further step only after the feasibility reports are submitted,” he said.

However, Prabhu said efforts are on to increase the speed of Rajdhnai, Shatabdi and other Mail/Express trains.

Hoping that improvement in railways will be seen in the next ten years, Prabhu concluded his speech saying “do your best and forget the best.”

Revamped Railway Stations can Transform Small Cities: MOSR

New Delhi: Stating that railway stations should be made as attractive as airports, the Minister of State for Railways Mr.Manoj Sinha today said details of the station redevelopment policy announced in the February Rail Budget will be unveiled soon.

“The policy will concentrate on ‘A’ category stations which are to be developed as model stations,” Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said here.

“While the process for development of the already selected stations would continue, for the rest, we propose to revamp the station redevelopment policy and simplify processes by inviting open bids from interested parties,” he said.

Sinha was speaking to reporters after laying the foundation stone of a sports complex at the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) here.

Sinha said the railway station at Dwarka, a famous temple town, will be developed as model station.

So far, 1,052 stations have been identified for upgradation of passenger amenities. It is proposed to include 200 more stations under this scheme, Sinha stated.

Wi-Fi facility is being provided at all ‘A1’ and ‘A’ category stations. The facility will be soon extended to ‘B’ category stations as well under Digital India initiative, the Junior Railway Minister said.

Since a large population travels by trains, stations should be made as attractive as airports, he said.

“A transformed station can change the skyline of small and medium cities, bring in revenues, and also become an incubator of local economy,” he added.

Railways to eAuction 100 Stations for Redevelopment via Public-Private Partnership

New Delhi: Indian Railways is on track to take the e-Auction route for the first time for redevelopment of stations through public-private partnership (PPP).

The cash-strapped operator is working on a policy for e-auctioning contracts for about 100 railway stations in a bid to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles faced by private companies while undertaking PPP projects, a top railway board official said. The official, who did not wish to be named, said private players will be able to submit their bids online, after which a technical committee will study and approve the bids. He added that private players tasked with converting the railway stations into world-class transit facilities will be given a specified area within the station premises and around it to be exploited commercially.

eauctions“The space given to companies for commercial development will be such that they get decent returns. Joint ventures will be formed at the divisional level for the project,” the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently told the Indian diaspora in an interaction in France that he had invited French companies to explore commercial opportunities in Indian Railways. India hopes foreign players including companies from Japan will be interested in investing in the station redevelopment project.

“We have proposed a very transparent and swift procedure, which is a giant leap from whatever we have tried earlier in the PPP space,” the official said.

The erstwhile UPA government had also planned to renovate major railway stations with about Rs 10,000 crore of private funds. However, private players stayed away as they were not convinced about the viability of projects.

The railways thereafter decided to redevelop five stations through PPP on a pilot basis but this plan too fell flat.

Indian Railways is now working on the list of stations which will be offered to private companies for redevelopment. “The number and names of stations are not confirmed but we hope to start with around 100 stations in all zonal railways including major tourist destinations which receive a heavy footfall,” the official cited earlier said. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had said while presenting his maiden rail budget in February that private sector could be roped in to improve last-mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernise station infrastructure.

Railways reported an operational ratio of 93.5% in 2013-14, leaving it with little funds to finance upgrade and modernisation of rail infrastructure.

IR plans to develop Satellite Terminals to decongest Stations: Suresh Prabhu at Indo-US Conf

New Delhi: Indian Railways is planning to build satellite terminals near some of the busiest junctions, aiming at reducing pressure on such stations and the city traffic around it.

“We are planning to develop some satellite terminals. Most of the urban areas are saturated now. It is impossible to reach to the station in busy areas. We can have satellite terminals outside busy railway stations,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here said at a conference on US-India cooperation on smart transportation.

There are about 8,000 stations across the country out of which some of the most busiest stations like New Delhi, Delhi Junction, Howrah, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Lucknow, Chennai are quite saturated now.

According to the plan, satellite terminals will be developed in the nearby cities to divert the rail as well as road traffic to ease pressure on these busy stations.

Prabhu said the satellite stations could bring in much better development in the adjoining towns and also decongest the busy stations and cities automatically.

Seeking cooperation with the US on safety, managerial ability and technology, Prabhu said “We will be very happy to collaborate and learn from the US in the rail sector. US is a great friend and partner of India. Probably we have best relationship with President Barak Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We can move to a new level in this sector.”

He further said, “We can not reach US through rail but certainly we can have exchange ideas with one another on technology. We can work together.”

Emphasizing on the importance safety, he said Railways is also planning to have an independent safety regulator with enhanced safety regulation.

“Safety is a key issue. We are also thinking of how to have a independent safety regulator. Safety is core area of concern for transportation including railways there also we are looking for close cooperation with the US.”

Prabhu also advocated integrated planning for transport management.

“There is a need for integrated planning for transport management. Integrated approach, road-rail integration, and inland waterways and railways can also be integrated. If we have proper integrated approach then it will be good for us.”

He said for smart city, smart transportation is required. “Good transportation is crucial for smart city. Cities are reality and the question is how to make it smart.”

On the transportation of water he said, “Water is coming from far away place. Water is essential and city cannot live without water. Delhi gets its water from Tehri, while Mumbai gets it from Nasik.”

Referring to migration of people from rural areas to urban places, he said, if there is a smart transportation for people if would be easy for them to come to city for work and go back after the work. “It is far cheaper to live in rural areas if we invest enough on smart transportation, many of other investments will be eliminated.”

Surat on course to become First Station for transformation under Stations Redevelopment Policy

Surat (ST): Surat railway station is on course to become the first in the country to undergo transformation under the redevelopment policy for stations as announced by railway minister Suresh Prabhu in the statement of estimated receipts and expenditure for 2015-16 for Indian Railways presented by him in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The re-development of Surat railway station would take place on 2.27 lakh square metre of land near the station belonging to the Indian Railways, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC). A special purpose vehicle (SPV) is likely to be formed by them for the Rs 5,000 crore project.

“The capital investment would come from a private party. It would be decided through an open bidding process. The private partner would get the benefits over a staggered period of time,” municipal commissioner Milind Torwane said.

The groundwork for the project is being done by a’XYKno Capital Services Limited, a private consultant based in Nagpur. The consultant, appointed by Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDCL) a month ago, is carrying out feasibility study and revenue sharing models for the project.

Consulting firm’s director K Vishwanath said, “Surat railway station will be revamped within the stipulated time.” The master plan for it is likely to be ready by 31 March, 2016. A re-developed Surat railway station with a multi-mode transit plaza etc. is expected to be ready by 2017-end for use by the people.

Indian Railways Stations Development Corp notify recruitment of Company Secretary

Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC), a joint venture of IRCON and Rail Land Development Authority, has invited applications for the post of company secretary as Assistant Officer on regular basis. Eligible candidates can apply to the post through the prescribed format within 21 days from the date of publication of advertisement.

Vacancy:
Company Secretary- 01 post

Age Limit: 30 Years

Pay Scale:
For Assistant Officer- E1 Rs 16,400-Rs 40,500 + allowances + PRP (IDA)

Eligibility Criteria:
Associate Member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
Additional Qualification of LLB from a reputed university will be preferred.

Selection Procedure:
The selection of the candidates will be done on the basis of the interview/exam conducted by the organisation.

How to Apply:
Eligible candidates can apply to the Post online along with other necessary documents and also may send the applications to: Deputy General Manager/ HRM, IRCON International Limited, C-4,District Centre, Saket, New Delhi – 110017 within 21 days from the date of Publication of Advertisement i.e., 13 December 2014.

Important Date:
Date of Publication of Advertisement: 13 December 2014
Last Date of Online Application: Within 21 Days from the Publication of Advertisement

IR Moving ahead Railway Stations modernisation

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: In its first Railway budget, the BJP-led NDA government had focussed on passenger amenities and inviting private participation in the modernisation of infrastructure. While putting Meghalaya on the Railway map recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spelt out a scheme to privatise and modernise railway stations. He said 10 to 12 stations will be taken up under the programme to significantly upgrade passenger amenities and make them akin to airport terminal buildings. The thought is not new, nor is the attempt to upgrade major stations. Similarly, the plan to leverage the extensive extent of railway land available has been talked about for years, without much progress being made. Commercial utilisation of railway land could be very profitable, but needs to be done with caution to prevent exploitation or corruption. Now that the government has decided to allow 100 per cent FDI in Railway projects, the Ministry, now under a new Minister, the reform-minded Suresh Prabhu, should work on the details to roll out the programme. The first step will have to be the identification of stations across the country, deciding on what exactly the private sector or partner can do, and the sensitive issue of levying user charges. In any scheme of privatizing public space, the question of user charges comes in, and it needs to be addressed in conjunction with the extent of investment and the kind of facilities provided in these stations.

When Mr. Modi spoke of trains running underground and commercial buildings coming on top of that space, the reference must be to the metro rail and stations in major metropolitan centres. What is more pressing is raising standards and facilities at existing railway stations in key cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Allahabad and Patna, to name a few centres. These are the stations that are old and call for urgent modernisation. In a limited way, the zonal railways have been enhancing amenities such as display boards, seating arrangements and catering facilities, providing in some stations even Wi-Fi. There is so much scope for a significant leap forward in the matter of amenities: these should include retiring rooms, waiting rooms, toilets, electric cars and wheel chairs for the aged and physically challenged, and, above all, maintaining cleanliness. Even where the Indian Railways has tried to provide some of these facilities, there is just no upkeep or maintenance. The area of cleanliness and maintenance is one to which the Railways need to pay immediate attention. The earlier the Railways start finalising this scheme and implementing it, the better. It should not be allowed to go the way of earlier plans.

Rlys to give brief PPT for 25-odd interested parties on Redevelopment of Bhopal Rly Station

भोपाल Bhopal (BPL): Bhopal railway division officials will meet builders and developers in the city on October 20, Monday to discuss new design for upgradation and beautification of Habibganj station. The master plan for the project had been designed and developed by Indian Railway Station Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDCL).

Railway officials will give a presentation on the proposed master plan of the redevelopment of Habibganj station on Monday.

Bhopal divisional railway manager (DRM) Rajiv Chaudhary told, “Monday’s meeting would be like sort of a roadshow just for publicity purpose for 25-odd interested parties.

The pre-bid meeting would then be held for November 10 and after about a month tenders for redevelopment plan would be finalised. Also, the qualification for project is already there on the IRSDCL site.”

Habibganj is among five stations that have been identified for re-development involving modernisation and upgradation of passenger amenities. The others are Chandigarh, Anand Vihar and Brijwasan (both in Delhi), and Shivaji Nagar (Pune). The announcement for the same was made in Union rail budget previously.

Development and upgradation of railway stations across the country has been taken up under an agreement between Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) with IRSDCL.

IRSDCL will carry out re-development work by raising finances through commercial development of railway land and air space at these stations. It is a joint venture company consisting of RLDA with 49 % stake and Ircon with 51% stake, respectively.

IRSDCL has already finalised master plans for all five stations, including Habibganj and is in process of getting approvals and clearances from railway and state authorities which will be followed by invitation of bids for appointment of developers around December.

General manager (GM) Western Central Railway (WCR) Ramesh Chandra had also undertaken review of station in January.

Shareholder Agreement & Development Agreement for IRSDC Signed

Mohan Tiwari and Y.P. Singh exchanging copies of shareholders agreement for IRSDC at IRCON’s corporate office
Mr.Mohan Tiwari and Mr.Y.P. Singh exchanging copies of Shareholders Agreement for IRSDC at the Corporate Office of IRCON at New Delhi

New Delhi:  Shareholders Agreement for the functioning of Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) – a Joint Venture Company of RLDA- 49% and Ircon International Ltd – 51% was signed by Shri Y.P.Singh, Vice Chairman RLDA and Shri Mohan Tiwari, CMD, IRCON, yesterday.  In addition, another agreement namely Development Agreement was also signed by Shri Anil Kumar Gupta, General Manager, Railway Infrastructure, on behalf of RLDA, and Shri S.P.Mahi, Chief Executive Officer, IRSDC for development/re-development of railway stations on Indian Railways.

At present, with the approval of Ministry of Railways, five railway stations at- Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (both at Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune) have been entrusted by RLDA to IRSDC for redevelopment that will involve modernization and up gradation of passenger amenities at these stations by raising finances through commercial development of railway land and air space at these stations. IRSDC has already finalized Master Plans for all the five stations and is in the process of obtaining various approvals and clearances from railway and state authorities which will be followed by invitation of bids for appointment of developers.

Five stations to be developed by IRSDC

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Starting with five station, including two in Delhi, re-development and upgradation of railway stations across the country will be taken up under an agreement between Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) with Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC).

At present five railway stations have been identified for re-development involving modernisation and upgradation of passenger amenities.  The stations are Chandigarh, Anand Vihar and Bijwasan (both in Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune).

Shareholder Agreement & Development Agreement for IRSDC Signed

Shareholders Agreement for the functioning of IRSDC, (a Joint Venture Company of RLDA- 49% and IRCON International Ltd – 51%) was signed by Shri Y. P. Singh, Vice Chairman RLDA and Shri Mohan Tiwari, CMD, IRCON, yesterday. In addition, another agreement namely Development Agreement was also signed by Shri Anil Kumar Gupta, General Manager, Railway Infrastructure, on behalf of RLDA, and Shri S. P. Mahi, Chief Executive Officer, IRSDC for development/re-development of railway stations on Indian Railways.

At present, with the approval of Ministry of Railways, five railway stations at- Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (both at Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune) have been entrusted by RLDA to IRSDC for redevelopment that will involve modernization and up gradation of passenger amenities at these stations by raising finances through commercial development of railway land and air space at these stations. IRSDC has already finalized Master Plans for all the five stations and is in the process of obtaining various approvals and clearances from railway and state authorities which will be followed by invitation of bids for appointment of developers. Photograph taken on the occasion is attached.

Railways Takes Steps to Prevent Encroachment of its Land: MOS (Railways) to a Parliament Question

Railways are engaged in a continuous exercise to prevent encroachments and protect its land by licensing of land to Railway employees for Grow More Food (GMF) scheme, providing boundary wall, tree plantation etc, at vulnerable locations. Encroachers on railway land are dealt with in accordance to the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 (PPE Act, 1971) as amended from time-to-time. Actual eviction of unauthorized occupants is carried out with the assistance of State Government and police. Complete Land records are maintained, updated regularly and get verified from revenue authorities periodically. Survey of encroachments is also carried out every year and the details of encroachments and their removal are recorded. About 940 hectares of Railway land is under encroachment.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Railways’ station revamp plan remain unstuck for want of investor interest

New Delhi:  The railways, struggling to modernize its stations due to dearth of funds, has to rely on the PPP model for making at least few stations world-class.  However, railways’ initial plan to modernise five stations via the public-private partnership (PPP) model itself has come unstuck for want of investor interest. According to sources, even as the deadlines for awarding contracts for the five projects set by the railway board nears, the national transporter is yet to begin the bidding process.

In Budget 2013-14, the railways had set a target of Rs 1,000 crore as private sector investment for the development of five railway stations-Chandigarh, Habibganj, Shivaji Nagar, Bijwasan, Shivaji Nagar and Anand Vihar-phase II. Later, the board decided that by March end all these projects would be awarded.

The railways, struggling to modernize its stations due to dearth of funds, has to rely on the PPP model for making at least few stations world-class. The selected stations, as per the blueprint, were supposed to have all amenities available at stations across the world.

In September, the railways held several pre-bidding meetings with potential investors but the plan failed to take off due to lukewarm response.

According to the railways, the master plans of Chandigarh and Pune’s Shivaji Nagar stations have already been prepared by a consultant and are with the zonal railways for approval.

The master plans of other stations are being prepared by foreign consultants and will be submitted to the railways soon. The redevelopment project has been undertaken by the newly formed Railway Station Development Corporation.

“We have got the approvals from local civic bodies for providing basic amenities and making traffic plans for the peripheral areas of stations. The overall economic situation and slowdown in the infrastructure sector has had its toll on the station redevelopment plan,” a railway board official said.

Rly Stations’ Development Corp to modernise 5 Stations, Real Estate smells Boom

Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation Ltd., identify five stations under the station modernisation drive – works to start shortly

New Delhi: Five years from now, boarding a train from Anand Vihar Railway station in Delhi could be a different experience. Like the airport, there will be a separate waiting hall at the concourse with restaurants, shopping areas. Check in counters where you could swipe your tickets and board the trains at the ground level, after passing through automated doors.

Indian Railways has identified five stations under the station modernisation drive. Costing about Rs.2500 crore, Railways expects to raise this money from the real estate development around the station.

The five stations identified are Anand Vihar and Brijvasan station in Delhi, Chandigarh, Habibganj in Bhopal and Shivaji Nagar Station in Pune. Brijvasan is a green field or a new station coming up, the rest of them are brown field or existing stations.

But complete reliance on real estate development for funding can present challenges ahead for the ambitious project. Although the real estate experts say that the prime location of these stations in the city centre can prove to be an excellent opportunity for Railways to generate money for this project.

Each station is expected to cost over Rs.500 crore and expects to develop areas around the station spread over 100 acres. Railways might have to acquire some of the land from local authorities around these stations.

The Business Model

Railways expects to raise the money to develop these stations through real estate development in and around the stations making this project a zero investment scheme. But the past Indian experience of infrastructure projects betting on real estate development for operational cost presents a tale of failures. In the case of station modernisation, Indian Railways expects to raise not the operational but the cost of construction which can prove to be a difficult task, according to experts.

To provide a boost to this project Station Development Corporation Limited (SDCL) was set up in 2012-13 with an equity of Rs 100 crore. SDCL is a joint venture of Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON).

“The idea is to build world class stations like the one in Beijing which has concourse above the station, different gates for arrival and departure. The station will also have a waiting area with eateries and shopping place,” said a senior Railway official associated with the project.

When asked about the financial model, officials close to the development recognised that it will be a challenge as it is a new kind of experience for Indian Railways. “We are working on various financial model, whether the real estate development should happen along with station construction or we might divide it into phases, “, said another official close to the development.

Experts claim that exploiting real estate potential in and near station terminals can prove to be good idea for Railways because most of the stations are located in the prime city areas. “In India many of our stations are located in midst of the cities and therefore have good potential that can be exploited to improve quality of passenger services. One can also use this model while developing new stations. However, I do not think it is good idea to first build real estate and then station,” said Vishwas Udgirkar, Senior Director, Deloitte India.

Experts also pronounce a note of caution arguing that the real estate potential itself will dependent upon passenger traffic so having real estate development before station development is not very logical. Most agree that real estate development should be complementary to station development and not otherwise.

“The model has been used at many places in the world. For example Honk Kong Metro that developed residential areas around and raised money”, says Mudassir Zaidi, National Director, Knight Frank India, which is also involved in making the business plan for the project.

These projects were announced in the budget of Dinesh Trivedi and had expected to target over 100 stations in five years.

The Challenges

Former Railway officials and expert say apart from the business model it’s the bureaucratic delays and lack of spirit from bureaucrats and officials that can dampen the prospects. Experts agree that the station modernisation projects are no one’s baby. “If you look at the past projects there is too much resistance to new initiatives. Considering that the Lok Sabha elections are near, I don’t think there is anything happening anytime soon,”says Akhileshwar Sahay, Railways expert.

The Past Initiatives

The past engagement of Indian Railways with private sector for station modernisation has been marred by bad planning and bureaucratic delays. In the budget of 2008-09, Lalu Prasad Yadav had announced the modernisation of New Delhi, CST, Mumbai, Patna, Secundrabad Railway Station and expected an investment of Rs.15,000 crore. But so far nothing has materialised for Indian Railways.

The Chatrapati Shivaji Station in Mumbai is stuck for want of clearance from the UNESCO, as the monument has been declared as World Heritage site. The plan for New Delhi station never took off. “The local authorities wanted us to only develop on the 50 per cent of the land that we have identified, we had to change the entire plan,” said an official close to the development. Similarly the Patna station faced issues of land acquisition and Secundrabad was never moved ahead from the planning stage.

Officials close the development say that the project can take off only after clearance from local authorities. No deadline has been set so far but the project work is has already with expected date of completion in five years, according to government officials.

Indian Railways has over 8000 stations across the country. Each year Indian Railway spends around Rs.1000 crore on station upgrading activities like waiting hall, bridges and other station amenities.

Railway Minister Kharge unveils his plan of bailing out the Railways from financial crisis

Kharge aims at maximising the business potential of the country’s largest transporter through private investments

Trying to strike a balance between populism and the Railways’ fiscal health, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge is aiming to maximise the business potential of the country’s largest transporter through private investments in its infrastructure projects.

“Going into a poll year, we have to maintain a balance between social demands and the Railways’ growing cost. We are not going for any hike in train fare at least till the next Rail Budget we did it recently and there is no need till the next government is formed. We are also in the midst of a cost-cutting drive, internally. But we can’t let the key railway projects rust due to lack of finances,” Kharge said.

Giving an insight to his plan of action on bailing out the Railways from financial distress, he said, “Aggressive policy to tap rich dividends through the PPP model is the only way out. We need to look into it on case-by-case basis, and see to it that it is investor-friendly and straight and simple to attract investors,” Kharge said. Railway projects are capital intensive and have a long gestation period, he said. And these factors pose a challenge for investors and concessionaires.

A PPP model was announced for various rail connectivity projects. We had given in-principle clearance for rail connectivity to Jaigarh, Astaranga, Rewas and Hazira ports. We also approved rail connectivity under the private line model for Dharma port. Besides, we are implementing two coal link connectivity projects in Chhattisgarh through JV route.”

The minister is also looking for ways to attract private investment for developing railway stations. “We have already set up Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDC). It will take up the redevelopment of identified railway stations for providing modern amenities by leveraging the development of real estate in and around the stations.

Initially, IRSDC has been entrusted with Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, Habibganj and Shivaji Nagar stations. It plans to award the redevelopment contracts by the end of this fiscal,” Kharge said. Another priority area for Kharge is the improvement of catering facilities for the benefit of passengers.

“We are coming out with a new catering policy and will soon be floating tenders by this month end or early December for the first time, the bidders will be asked to specify their technical qualifications along with financial status,” he said.

BARSYL & Sener selected as Lead Consortium Architects for Bijwasan Station

The Northern Railway is set to build a new railway station near the Dwarka Sector-21 Metro station to reduce the load on the New Delhi railway station.

Senior officials of the Northern Railway said the new station at Bijwasan will be developed by the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation Limited (IRSDCL).   M/s IRSDCL had recently awarded the contract for consultancy for the project to a Lead Consortium comprising of M/s Balaji Railroad System Limited (BARSYL), a Hyderabad based Railroad infrastructure and technology company, India and M/s Sener Ingeniera Y Sistemas S.A.

The consortium firm will work out the designs and the estimated cost of the project.

While no timeline has been set for the project, officials said the plan is to develop the new station along the lines of the Anand Vihar railway station.

While the initial plan was to redevelop and expand the Bijwasan station, a decision was later made to build a new station altogether. A plot of land, which lies on the road that leads to the Airport and is right next to the Dwarka Sector-21 Metro station, has been identified for the railway station.  As per the scope of work, the Lead Consortium of Sener Ingeniera and BARSYL will jointly Architect and give Technical Consultancy for Preparation of Techno-Commercial Feasibiltiy Study and Master Plan for development/redevelopment of Bijwasan-New Delhi Railway station on Indian Railway network.

This new station will also cater to those who have flown in from far-away locations, both international and domestic, and wish to use the rail network within Northern India.

Northern Railway officials said there was also a need to develop a railway station in South Delhi to decongest the New Delhi railway station.

“The New Delhi station has faced several problems because of the huge footfall that it has to cope with every day. As a result, there are often traffic jams outside the station. The new station will cater to the fast-growing areas in and around Gurgaon as well as Dwarka,” A K Sachan, divisional railway manager of Northern Railway, said.

In the coming weeks, the consultants for the project will look at the station design, and submit cost estimates, which will then have to be approved by the SDA and the Northern Railway.

Northern Railway officials said, eventually, a ring of railway stations across the city in different zones will be developed, with the New Delhi railway station acting as the nodal centre.

“For instance, this new station will be chiefly utilised for trains that come from the country’s Southwest — Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Old Delhi station caters to trains from South India. The Anand Vihar station already caters to eastward-bound trains. In the future, we will look to develop Sarai Rohilla station as well,” a Northern Railway official said.

Parliament Question: IRSDCL to revamp, develop and modernize five Railway Stations

Five stations viz. Anand Vihar (Delhi), Bijwasan (Delhi), Chandigarh, Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune) have been entrusted for redevelopment to Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (a PSU under Ministry of Railways).  These are planned for development with private sector participation by leveraging the commercial potential of land and air space around the station subject to techno- economic feasibility studies.

Contracts for Architectural Consultancy for four stations have been awarded and the fifth is under finalization. Tender for financial and bid advisory consultant for these stations is also under finalization.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.