Two major railway stations in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh will be among the 23 stations the railways has targeted to revamp under the second phase of its mega modernisation programme slated to kick off later this month. On the day of the big launch, tenders for modernisations of the 23 stations– including Kanpur Central and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh– will be floated as well. Besides the two, other stations include Lokmanya Tilak, Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Horah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Ranchi, Chennai Central, Kozhikide, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt, Bhopal, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore.
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A senior official in the railway ministry also said work is likely to commence on revamping Habibganj Railway Station- the first station to be redeveloped under the programme- next week with a formal ceremony marking ground breaking. The firm developing the station has obtained financial closure or loans totalling Rs 400 crores for the facelift at Habibganj. 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. The stations are being awarded to private developers under the so-called Swiss challenge method, which involves inviting a proposal online and allowing rival bidders to beat that proposal. These 23 stations will be the second batch of stations being redeveloped. The first set of stations were Habibganj, Surat, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Mohali and Gandhinagar whose modernisation has been entrusted to Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC).