Enthused by the response received from overseas developers for the station redevelopment programme, the Indian Railways will hold roadshows abroad to showcase the financial robustness of the scheme and attract more investors. “The railway minister has asked us to do roadshows abroad. We have to decide the nations we should visit,” said an official from the ministry of railways requesting anonymity.
The Indian Railways is aggressively pursuing redevelopment of 400-plus stations across the country, providing world-class passenger amenities. The plan will be executed by leasing out railway land to private developers for a period of 45 years, and in turn developers will commercialise the land parcels, redevelop stations and maintain them for 15 years. At present, the national carrier has put out a list of 23 stations for bidding.
The official, however, added that the roadshows may not be done for the current lot on offer.
The railways has seen keen interest from Malaysian companies and one company has already submitted bid against request for quotation for Surat railway station. The Malaysian developers are been led by Construction Industry Development Board, a Malaysian agency established to promote, improve and expand the country’s construction industry.
The Malaysian developers have also indicated interest for a basket of 20-30 stations beyond the 23 on offer right now. The railways has asked them to participate in at least 4-6 current projects on offer before a concept for basket offering can emerge.
“They will do detailed project report for say 20 stations. Then to bring in transparency, we may get it Swiss challenged in the market. If they meet the challenge, they will get it. This will ensure transparency as well we will get the fair price,” added the official.
Though the contours of such an arrangement is still to be done, Malaysian developers have impressed that they can get key EPC firms from the UAE, Kuwait and Turkey to participate in the projects.
Meanwhile, the railways will again approach the state governments to identify stations they would like to develop through partnership. Under the planned method, railway entity such as RLDA or IRSDC, which are authorised to develop land, will partner with one of the state companies and together they will redevelop stations which the state governments want. “These could be any station beyond the ones we have identified depending on its local importance—religious, tourism,” added the official.
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As reported by FE earlier, the Indian Railways has already received inquiries from Switzerland, the UAE, Kuwait, Slovakia, Malaysia and Japan, and the carrier has also reached out to the foreign embassies in India requesting them to market the plan in their own countries.