Railway Budget 2021: In the coming years, Indian Railways will boast several world-class railway stations across the country! The Union Budget 2021 is expected to give a boost to the railway infrastructure as Indian Railways is considered to be the lifeline of the nation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national transporter suffered a huge loss. Despite the coronavirus crisis, Indian Railways continued to provide various passenger-friendly services by introducing several special trains, providing covid-safety services, etc. Also, during the pandemic, work on the station redevelopment project continued. The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) is working on the redevelopment of the country’s first two airport-like world-class railway stations- Habibganj and Gandhinagar stations.
The redeveloped Habibganj station will boast a glass dome-like structure at the entrance. There will be a dedicated concourse area with airport-like retail outlets along with food cafeterias. Once the renovation work is over, the Habibganj station in Bhopal will have a plush waiting lounge and modern toilets. Besides, there will be refurbished, world-class interiors with a museum, gaming zones in the station. The station will have a ‘green building’ and will support LED lighting that is energy-efficient as well as a wastewater treatment plant for reuse. For the Habibganj station redevelopment, which is being revamped on the lines of Germany’s Heidelberg station, the IRSDC is implementing the project on the PPP model along with the Bansal Group.
Rajesh Mandloi, AGM (Civil), IRSDC, told Financial Express Online that at present, the development work at Habibganj station is at an advanced stage. Certain services under phase 1 are likely to be opened by January 2021, while the rest of the facilities and amenities will be thrown open to the public by March 2021. Under phase 1, basic facilities to tackle passenger traffic, entry/exit, lifts, one set of escalators, will be open. While other features such as CCTVs, Passenger address system, AC, etc., will be ready by the month of March.
The Gandhinagar station, once redeveloped, will have a revamped building and retail shops as well as food courts at the concourse area. There will be a transit hall which will have a seating capacity for a total of 600 passengers. The project is being executed by Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by IRSDC and the Gujarat government. In a first, the world-class Gandhinagar station will boast a 5-star hotel above the tracks. The Leela Group is said to run the hotel.
Meanwhile, the New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) is being redeveloped by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), which is an Indian Railways’ flagship station redevelopment project that is expected to incur about Rs 6,500 crore capital expenditure. The project is expected to give a boost to the real estate development of the surrounding regions, generate employment opportunities and augment the tourism potential. The objective of the NDLS redevelopment project is to position the railway station as a multi-modal hub by upgrading infrastructure as well as provisioning facilities such as an elevated concourse, green building provision, refurbished platforms with easy access from the concourse level, an elevated road network with multiple entry/exit points, a multi-level car parking facility, mezzanine level exclusively for facilities such as lounges, food courts, restrooms, etc.
Apart from these stations, several other railway stations are to be redeveloped in the coming months including Surat, Bijwasan, Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Amritsar, Gwalior, Kanpur, Sabarmati stations, etc.