China, Singapore, Canada and Belgium are among nine countries which have shown interest in joining the Indian Railways’ ambitious station redevelopment programme across the country. South Korea, Germany, UK, France and Malaysia are the other countries which have evinced keen interest in redeveloping stations in busy cities. Railways have earmarked about 400-plus major stations for redevelopment to provide world-class passenger amenities involving investment of more than Rs 1 lakh crore in PPP model. There has been immense interest globally in the station redevelopment plan and many countries have expressed keenness to join the programme, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the redevelopment project.
The redevelopment of stations envisage commercial exploitation of vacant land and air space in and around stations. There would be malls, hotels, multiplex, parking lots, eateries and other business activities on rail premises while at the same time many passenger-related facilities at stations would be upgraded. The financial model for redevelopment work across stations has been devised in a way that the government doesn’t incur any expenditure as the developer would be rebuilding the railway stations and maintaining it for 15 years.
In return, the developer would be granted 45 years’ leasing rights for the commercial properties developed at these stations. While China is keen to develop Jhansi and Agra stations, South Korea has expressed interest in making New Delhi station a world class station. France has agreed to redevelop Ludhiana and Ambala stations on Delhi-Chandigarh route.
Canada has shown interest in upgrading a few stations in Mumbai while Malaysia is keen to develop Howrah, Secunderabad, Udaipur, Faridabad, Indore and Pune stations. The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of vacant separable land and air space in and around the station.
Railways, which has not seen any major infrastructure development for long, have finalised plans for investment of at least Rs 8 lakh crore in the next five years to modernise the public transporter which still moved the bulk of the output from coal pits, cement silos, and steel factories. For the current financial year, railways have earmarked Rs 1.31 lakh crore for capital expenditure.