Indian Railways to redevelop 400 key stations, including Kamakhya station

From Our Correspondent

Silchar, Feb 7: Indian Railways is planning to start its ambitious programme to redevelop 400 key stations in the country. This includes 22 stations of Northeast Frontier Railways. The redeveloped stations will provide amenities and services to the passengers in line with excellent railway stations. The stations will be redeveloped through public-private-partnership (PPP) model without straining Railways’ finces. The redeveloped stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like digital sigge, escalators or elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi.

Railway Board has devised an innovative plan to provide these amenities through PPP model by leveraging the real estate available at the railway stations. Commercial potential of vacant Railway land at or near stations, which will be given for a lease period of 45 years, will be leveraged to develop world class stations with no additiol funding required from the Railways. The program will also generate surplus for the Indian Railways, which can be invested in other modernization projects.

To maximize commercial potential of the public assets, Indian Railways plans to bid out the projects through a transparent and competitive method. Taking cue from global best practices, Indian Railways has adopted the so called ‘modified Swiss challenge’ methodology for the bidding process. Under this method, zol railways will approach the markets soliciting plans and fincial models for developing about 400 stations in a phased manner. The best proposal based on a rigorous technical and fincial evaluation will be selected as the project proponent. Then it will disclose that proposal to the open market again inviting anyone to better it. If no one betters it, the developer with the proposal gets the contract. If someone matches it, then the developer gets the first right to refuse. If the market throws up a better offer, Railways is free to accept it. In the interest of transparency, each zol railway will form a panel of experts to evaluate the proposal. The entire plan got the nod from the Union Cabinet in 2015. To take the program further in a planned fashion, Indian Railways have carried out detailed assessment involving renowned consultants and have taken market feedback. Based on this, Indian Railway has prioritized about 23 stations in the pipeline for Phase I. Kamakhya station of NF Railway is also included in the first phase. Launch of Phase I of the redevelopment programme is scheduled for February 8, 2017 by the Minister of Railways. Bid documents for technical cum fincial offer would become available immediately after the launch. This has been informed by Prav Jyoti Sharma, CPRO, NF Railway.