To speed up the first phase redevelopment of 42 railways stations under the Rs 1 trillion programme, the government has now adopted a cluster approach by making five public sector companies in charge of each cluster.
“These companies are in the process of finalising consultants. The stations are pooled in such a way that both land area and potential footfall are equally balanced,” said a person close to the development.
This approach is vital for completion of the station redevelopment programme as the project saw a lukewarm response from real estate players in previous tenders.
Apart from these 42 pooled stations, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), the nodal agency for station redevelopment, has already taken up 13 stations for redevelopment. A source added that two stations – Habibganj (Madhya Pradesh) and Gandhinagar (Gujarat) – may be commissioned by the end of July. For Gandhinagar, 80 per cent of the work has been completed while almost 70 per cent of the work is over in Habibganj.
However, B&R and Rites will be managing eight and seven stations, respectively. The major stations that are part of the current set include Pune, Aurangabad, Indore, Mumbai Central, Ranchi, Allahabad and Bangalore Cantt.
In October 2018, the Union Cabinet had approved a new station redevelopment policy making IRSDC as the nodal agency and allowing a longer lease period of 99 years, as compared to 45 years in the previous policy. The ministry of railways had opted for a revised policy after developers, investors and other stakeholders wanted some key areas to be restructured — including the multiple sub-leasing part.
The ministry of railways has already zeroed in on 600 stations across the country for redevelopment, for which an overall investment of Rs 1 trillion is expected. On the other hand, stations taken up on public-private partnership like Surat, Gwalior, Nagpur and Baiyappanhalli are in the request-for-quotation stage.
Late last year, in order to give more power to IRSDC, it was converted into an equal joint venture of Ircon International and Railway Land Development Authority from being an Ircon subsidiary. Another key change that was brought into the policy was that developers can use 20 per cent of the railway land for housing projects.