The Rs 5,000-crore project would be taken up under the public private partnership model.
Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu, Deputy Chief minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel and city mayor Ashmitaben Shiroya Wednesday signed an MoU for the development of India’s first multi-modal transportation hub (MMTH) at Surat railway station. The Rs 5,000-cr project would be taken up under the public private partnership model.
Addressing mediapersons here, Prabhu said: “This is a first- of-its-kind infrastructure development project, where Indian Railway station Development Corporation (IRSDC), Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation Limited (GSRTC) and Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) have formed a joint venture in giving different modes of facilities to passengers, including train, city bus and long distance bus services, auto rickshaws, taxi and private vehicle services, at one place. The facilities will be given in such a way that the passengers will feel international level of travel comfort.”
The IRSDC has invited the “expression of interest (EOI)” from interested developers and operators. Prabhu said: “Two bidding processes were carried out — first in Mumbai on May 3 and second in Surat on May 13 and 36 bidders from different parts of country participated.
Nine applicants had shown expression of interest. The evaluation process of the EOI will be carried out shortly to finalise for the prequalification criteria for moving the project ahead.”
He further said: “We are revamping structure of railway station development. We are also working hard to build 400 railway stations across the country.” It is to be noted that the provision for MMTH will constitute five towers with approximately 61 storeys for commercial development. The area to be used under this project is over 1 lakh sqm. Meanwhile, the minister announced four new categories of trains, including one for unreserved passengers, which will be operational in the next couple of months. “The reason for starting a new train for unreserved passengers is to ensure that those belonging to the ‘Antyodaya class’ (very poor people) can also travel by train,” Prabhu said. “The Antyodaya Express, a long-distance, fully unreserved, super-fast train service is to be introduced for the common man and it will operate on dense routes.”
As per the minister, the Railways will also add two to four “Deen Dayalu” coaches to some long-distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance the carrying capacity.
“The other trains to be introduced are Humsafar — a fully third AC train. The Tejas category of trains will run at 130 km an hour with local cuisine, Wi-Fi and other amenities on board,” Prabhu said. “The final category is UDAY (Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri), which will be overnight trains plying on the busiest routes to increase capacity by 40 per cent,” he added.
Set-up headquarter at Surat: SRSDCF
The Surat Railway Station Development Citizen Forum (SRSDCF) have strongly advocated the separation of Surat railway station from the Mumbai division and setting up a new divisional headquarter to deal with the issues and problems faced by the passengers in the diamond city.
The SRSDCF member submitted a slew of demands to Union minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhu during his visit in the city on Wednesday.
The SRSDCF members said that Surat is the eighth largest city in terms of population according to census 2011. It is third largest in the Western Railway (WR) after Mumbai and Ahmedabad in the Mumbai division. While the annual revenue of Surat railway station is pegged at over Rs 400 crore per annum, the passengers are dissatisfied regarding railway services.
All the issues and problems faced by the pssengers are referred to Mumbai headquarter where authorities are always busy in resolving the suburban traffic issues. However, there is a strong need to separate Surat from Mumbai division.
Also, the members have strongly represented to the railway minister to provide commercial halt to important long distance trains like Rajdhani, Sampark Kranti, Suvidha and Duronto in both the directions with allocation adequate reservation quota. Around 13 pairs of superfast trains are not provided halt at Surat station.
Member of SRSDCF, Sanjay Jain said, “The headquarter at Surat can serve the remaining section effectively and efficiently with added attention on the TV section when the doubling work is going on in full swing and heavy freight traffic is expected after the completion of project next year.”