International firms eye Vizag Railway station modernization project

VISAKHAPATNAM: Global firms have evinced interest in redeveloping Visakhapatnam railway station as part of a project announced by Indian Railways earlier this calendar year.

Visakhapatnam is the one of the 23 railway stations that come under the redevelopment project.

Sources said firms from southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore apart from some Indian companies are keen to renovate the railway station under the public-private-participation (PPP) mode. The lease period for the project would be 45 years.

The Indian railways already held a pre-bid meeting with the aspirants, received suggestions from the people and public representatives on main parameters of the redevelopment. This apart, the railways set June 19 as the last date for submission of bids. The sources said nearly Rs 600 crore, including the Rs 200 crore on the beautification and commercial activity is expected to be spent under the project.

“Tenders will be opened on June 29. Only then it will be known how many firms submitted bids. We expect good response because Visakhapatnam is one of the most important stations in Indian Railways. We have held pre-bid conference with the respective bidders. On the internet also, we have received suggestions from large number of people,” JP Mishra, East Coast Railway (ECoR) chief public relations officer, said.

When asked about the value of investment, Mishra said, “It is not known. It is to be invested by the successful project consultant.”

As part of the redevelopment project, the number of platforms will also be increased in the Gnanapuram end (rear side). This apart, nearly 19,000 square metres of vacant land owned by the railways in the surroundings of the city railway station will be converted for commercial establishments under the project. The 19,000-square-metres of land is available as two parcels including 15,400 square metres and 3,600 square metres. Both the land parcels are available close to the station towards Gnanapuram.

“The available land is encroachment free and land titles are available with the railways. The revenue generated from commercial exploitation of the vacant land will be used to develop the Vizag station and other nearby satellite railway stations,” said a senior railway official.