Malls, restaurants and theatres may in the near future come up at a railway station near you, but the government will ensure that the eateries do not burn a hole in your pocket, an official said today. The Railways, under its station redevelopment programme, has made it mandatory for developers to ensure that 25 per cent of eateries at every station retain prices stipulated by the rail board. “These developers can come in and build anything – food courts, restaurants, theatres — but we have made it mandatory for them to keep the railway board prices at 25 per cent of the eateries,” the senior rail ministry official said. Sources said most of these eateries would be run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. Under the programme, 400 stations across the country will be given an image makeover and provided with world-class passenger amenities. The Railways has floated tenders for 23 stations which will be finalised by August-September 2018. By end-2018, work will begin at three or four stations, they said. The redevelopment plan will be executed by leasing out railway land to private developers for 45 years. Developers will commercialise the land parcels, redevelop stations and maintain them for 15 years, after which the terms may be reviewed.
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Some Malaysian companies have shown an inerest in the project, and one company has submitted a bid for the Surat railway station in Gujarat. The Malaysian developers are been led by Construction Industry Development Board, a Malaysian agency. The Malaysian developers are also interested in a basket of 20-30 stations beyond the 23 on offer right now, the sources said.