Union Cabinet approves creation of smart railway stations
The Union Cabinet has approved the redevelopment of railway stations through simplified procedures. The development paves the way for large-scale modernisation and will ensure world-class rail infrastructure.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3, 2018 approved the redevelopment of railway stations through simplified procedures by adopting various business models and issuance of longer lease tenure of up to 99 years.
The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) will be the nodal agency and the main project development agency of the project. The development paves the way for large-scale modernisation and will ensure world-class rail infrastructure.
• The redevelopment of major stations across the country is being planned by leveraging the commercial development of land and air space in and around the station.
• The program will help provide state-of-the-art amenities to the passengers, generate additional revenue and be overall cost neutral to the Railway Ministry.
• As the Nodal agency, the IRSDC will prepare the overall strategic plan and business plans for individual or a group of stations ensuring cost neutrality of the program.
• Upon approval of business plans by the Railway Ministry, IRSDC or other project development agencies will take up the work of station redevelopment.
• The Railway, Rail Land Development Authority and IRSDC will be the planning and development authority for Railway land in consultation with urban local bodies, DDA or other UTs, to transfer land on a freehold basis to Railways.
• This would enable the Ministry of Railways to accelerate the redevelopment of major stations across the country on an overall cost-neutral basis.
• These redevelopment efforts will lead to the creation of smart stations that will function as mini smart cities.
The redevelopment of railway stations across the country will have a multiplier effect in the economy, leading to increased job creation and improved economic growth.
The move would largely benefit the railway passengers and Industry. The passengers will now get amenities at par with international railway terminals and a large number of local job creation is expected as a positive external outcome of this program.
A Cabinet approval was obtained on June 24, 2015 to redevelop ‘A1’ and ‘A’ category stations by Zonal Railways through Cabinet approved procedures and for a lease period of 45 years.
However, insufficient interest was visible amongst the prospective bidders. During various interactions with developers, investors and other stakeholders, various issues including multiple subleasing and simplified bid procedures were repeatedly raised.
Therefore, an improvised and simpler program design including these issues and under a specialized executing agency (IRSDC), incorporating suitable structural, process and parameters changes, has been adopted to revamp the station redevelopment program.
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