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
You 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).
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.