Railways seeks Autonomy for IRSDC to award Station Revamp projects

NEW DELHI: The Railway Ministry has sent a proposal to the Cabinet seeking autonomy for the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) to award stations for redevelopment..

Stations can be bunched together for bidding, so that a player can develop stations with good footfalls as well as those without. “IRSDC can award projects on upfront premium payment mode, or take loans and award the projects. The preferred mode of bidding out stations will be upfront premium payment based model, while allowing the winning party to enter into multiple subleases,” said an official. The station developer can set up residential complexes, hotels, offices and markets as a part of the modernisation programme. Revenue sharing is not a preferred mode as it would be difficult for the Railways to capture and verify all the revenue. IRSDC will have to get its business plan approved by Railways.

Cabinet Nod

The government will allow leases for up to 99 years, apart from allowing IRSDC to have joint ventures with Union Territories and the Delhi Development Authority. The States can give out land at a nominal cost to the Railways.

It may be recalled that while the Railway Act allows the Railways to commercially exploit land for railway purpose, there was a Cabinet decision debarring the Railways from using land for long term.

The present regime — Law Ministry as well attorney general — have favoured the idea of Railways awarding land for long term. This fits into the Government’s idea of transit oriented development (TOD). IRSDC, which has an equity of 100 crore, is looking to raise 250 crore from other Railway public sector units (PSUs) such as RITES and CONCOR.

“If the Cabinet approval happens before September, then 60 stations will be taken up for redevelopment. If the Cabinet nod happens later, the number of stations will be less,” said the source.