Railways plans station redevelopment policy -min
Indian Railways will soon come out with a station redevelopment policy under which more financial independence will be given to Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC). It will have the powers to raise money from the markets for station development. Recently, IRSDC had announced its plans to redevelop 600 stations in the country. To take this program forward, the government is set to come up with an empanelled group to design 600-odd stations announced in the Budget.
Well-known architect Hafeez Contractor has offered to design free of charge 19 stations across the country, including several in Mumbai, as part of a redevelopment project being rolled out by the Railways. Among the stations Contractor, the Padma Bhushan awardee, has offered to redesign are Dadar, Parel, Wadala, Bandra and Khar in Mumbai. Another top architect, C P Kukreja too has offered to re-do the stations free of cost.
The Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal recently held a meeting with Architects and Planners to discuss issues related to Station Redevelopment Program. A total of 110 professionals from 54 firms had participated in the meeting. In the meeting he had expressed his opinion that the Station Redevelopment Program should be implemented at low cost in view of the financial condition of Indian Railways and the paying capacity of public.
The MyGov portal of the government has launched a competition for low-cost station development ideas for more than 600 stations under SRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation Initiative through Joint Action). So far, around 450 entries have been received.
The Railway Board has allowed residential development along with commercial development as part of the redevelopment scheme of railway stations to make such projects further viable commercially. The new policy is likely to allow 20 per cent of the redeveloped area on the station premises for residential purposes, while the remaining 80 per cent would be for commercial use.
Under the station redevelopment scheme, railways will give the stations to be redeveloped on a 99-year lease to the highest bidder for completion, development and subsequent operation. Earlier, the lease tenure was 45 years. All the 600 stations chosen for redevelopment will have the residential component.