After a lot of deliberations with the ministry of finance and Niti Aayog, the ministry of railways has finally sent a note to the Cabinet on the ambitious station redevelopment programme, revamping the process approved earlier. While the revised policy will have more attractive terms for private investors, Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) will be the nodal agency to execute the programme. The new contracts will offer developers a lease term of 99 years compared with 45 years as envisaged earlier and residential premises will be a part of the assets created, said a government official, adding that developers will be allowed to give multiple sub-leases rather than just one.
To start with, IRSDC will take up 50 stations to be redeveloped on the engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) model and will finish the work within three years from the date of tendering. “IRSDC can raise funds which it can either use to redevelop commercially non-viable stations or for stations to be redeveloped under the EPC model,” added the official. A total of 600 stations will be redeveloped.
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The other models proposed in the Cabinet note include public-private-parternship (PPP), in some cases IRSDC will start work and invite private parties later once commercial viability is established, and bundling method wherein a developer will be given a commercially viable station only if it agrees to take up other stations with lower estimated returns.
According to the official, while the railways has given a ballpark number of stations to be redeveloped under each model, the board will be free to choose a model of its choice for each station while issuing tenders. The second lot of stations will be first taken up by IRSDC, and mid-way, private parties will be invited.