Railways ropes in noted Architect to Redevelop Network, earn 1L crore

MUMBAI: A redevelopment plan for the entire mass transit system, designed by architect Hafeez Contractor, could help railways earn Rs 1 lakh crore. The plan for suburban railway network will be unveiled in a few months.

The government is also looking at revising the terms of public private partnership in railways to facilitate longer leases, enabling sub-leasing and mortgaging property. The railways is also in talks with Bombardier and Siemens to convert three coaches in each of its 80 suburban rakes into air-conditioned ones. Also on the cards are separate first- and second-class compartments in the air-conditioned section and a separate compartment for ladies.

The railways has drawn up an ambitious Rs 54,000 crore investment plan for Mumbai suburban section, which includes extending the network to outward sections of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. This includes construction of an elevated railway line along the Harbour line to the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport.

The investment plans reflect the demographic shift in the city-traffic in the island city is falling as housing and employment increases in the northern suburbs. “Until now, modernization and monetizing of assets meant looking at each station as a unit. This plan looks at the entire rail network as one unit and could help railways realise Rs 1 lakh crore according to Contractor,” said a source in the railways.

The PPP in developing stations, however, has met with mixed results. Only two stations-Habibganj and Gandhinagar-have been developed under this scheme. According to a source, it is a challenge for a private developer to meet specifications of Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd.

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