The country’s much-awaited first railway station redevelopment project at Habibganj in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, is slated to start by the end of this week, according to two railway officials who did not want to be named.
On the day of the initiation of the project, the Indian Railways will also float tenders for 23 more stations to be redeveloped. “We are ready from our side to start the project,” said one of the officials, adding that the financial closure for the project has already been achieved by Bansal Pathways Habibganj — the special purpose vehicle (SPV) which will execute the project — last week and the final date for submission of the closure is January 13.
The SPV comprises Bansal Construction Works and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways (India). The firms couldn’t be contacted immediately.
The national carrier has initiated the process of redeveloping more than 400 railway stations across the country to provide passengers with modern amenities such as holding areas, concourse, walkway, multipurpose stalls, cafes, among others.
The railways aims to monetise the land parcels around the station and air space to add to its financial coffer.
The Habibganj railway station is the first where work will start under the private-public-partnership mode wherein the estimated cost of station redevelopment is Rs 100 crore and that for commercial redevelopment is around Rs 350 crore.
The railways will only be allotting land for a period of 45 years and with a maintenance right for 15 years for the SPV, which in turn will be making the investments to redevelop the station and will have commercial rights.
However, core operations such as signalling, track maintenance and running of trains will be undertaken by the railways.
According to the official quoted above, the total redevelopment work will take around two years.
The official added that the Habibganj project is relatively easier to be executed compared with others in the pipeline given it witnesses around 25,500 passengers daily which is expected to go up to approximately 80,700.
“There are few trains that stop here and given that the construction will happen while operations are on, it is a simpler project,” said the official.
The stations which will be put up for tender through the Swiss Challenge method include Pune, Howrah, Kanpur Central, Chennai Central and Bandra Terminus, among others.