The rail ministry has invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) from companies for redevelopment of Surat railway station in Gujarat as part of a larger drive to give a facelift to more than 400 major stations across the country announced in last year's rail budget. Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC), an arm of the rail ministry, plans to develop a multi-modal transportation hub at Surat railway station through the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) on Design, Build, Own, Finance and Transfer (DBOFT) basis. The transport hub will be developed by IRSDC along with Gujarat State Road Transport Corp (GSRTC) and Surat Municipal Corporation. "The components of the project include redevelopment of railway station, redevelopment of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) bus depot, providing east-west road connectivity, development of common facilities and commercials along the project integration activities and operation and maintenance of station and bus depot," IRSDC said in a notice to prospective bidders. The Union cabinet had in July last year approved a proposal for redevelopment of railway stations on "as is where is" basis by inviting open bids from interested parties, who will submit their designs and business ideas. As part of the proposal, zonal railways concerned will permit commercial development of real estate including land and air space in and around the stations to enable their redevelopment. The idea was encourage innovative ideas from interested parties at no cost to the Railways.
A1 and A category of stations are generally located in metros, major cities, pilgrimage centers and important tourist destinations across the country. Apart from Surat, IRSDC is currently working on six projects including Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, Chandigarh, Habibganj, Shivaji Nagar and Mohali.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had in December last year said the ambitious project to re-develop 400 stations, through private investment would be among the largest PPP projects in the world, without sharing the cost estimates. As part of the project, railways will conduct online bidding of stations and companies will earn revenue through commercial exploitation of real estate.