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.

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