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Renowned hotel chains ITC and The Leela have bid for the operational rights for the government's ambitious 5-star hotel project above the Gandhinagar railway station in Gujarat, a senior railway official said. These two chains have submitted tenders to run the first of its kind Rs 270 crore hotel, a pet project of Prime Minster Narendra Modi which is being built bang on top of the railway tracks as part of the redevelopment plan of the Gandhinagar station. While ITC Hotels is India's second largest hotel chain with over 100 hotels, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, commonly known as The Leela is an Indian luxury hotel chain, founded in 1986 and is currently a group of eight luxury palaces and hotels across the country. The 300-room hotel is scheduled to be completed by 2018. The Rs 500 crore station redevelopment plan will be done by January 2019, just in time for the next edition of Vibrant Gujarat. "We need the hotel for Vibrant Gujarat and the project will be ready on time. The bids on tenders for appointing an operator has already come in and very soon it will be finalised. "This hotel will be the first five star hotel in Gandhinagar.
The nearest such hotel is 18 km away. Along with the convention centre which is 400 metres from the hotel, we expect to generate great revenue," said Vivek Bhushan Sood, Chief Project Manager of Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited. The hotel shaped like an arrangement of petals will be constructed 17 metres above ground level giving it a height of 65 metres, the highest in state capital, besides being hi-tech and passenger friendly. Whoever gets the operational reins of the hotel- ITC or Leela- will have it on lease for a period of 75 years, said officials. This redevelopment project undertaken by the Gujarat government in partnership with Indian Railways (with 74 per cent and 26 per cent equity, respectively), is the second under the railway station redevelopment program of the Indian Railway Stations Development Corp. Ltd (IRSDC). The first project is coming up at Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh where a concourse would be developed above the railway tracks. Indian Railways has been working on an ambitious plan to redevelop 400 A1 and A category railway stations. The plan was mooted in 2009-10 by the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.