A proposal to redevelop about 400 railways stations in metros and major cities besides pilgrim centres and tourist spots was cleared by the government on Thursday.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for redevelopment of the railway stations on ‘as is where is’ basis to accelerate the process of revamping them.
Under this model, interested parties coming through open bids would develop the stations with their designs and business ideas while commercial development of real estate would be allowed by the Zonal Railways.
The ‘as is where is’ model would entail a much simpler process for faster redevelopment, with more focus on vertical expansion.
“The ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations (about 400) shall be offered for redevelopment by inviting open bids from interested parties.
“These stations are to be developed by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around the stations,” a government statement said, adding that the model would also encourage innovative ideas from interested parties “at no cost to the railways”.
These category of stations are generally located in metros, major cities, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations across the country.
The ‘as is where is’ model was floated by the Railways to redevelop a large number of stations as the Indian Stations Development Corporation could undertake redevelopment of only some identified stations in the country, the statement said.
Earlier moves to redevelop the stations and transforming them into world-class facilities had met “little success”.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had observed that the existing processes for redevelopment are time-consuming as there are several stages involved.
They include ‘inception and pre-feasibility report’, appointment of architect, technical consultants, financial and legal consultants, in-principle approval of local authorities, request for qualification, shortlisting of bidders, and request for technical proposals.