Logistics

Coming, user-fee for redoing Rail stations

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 17, 2020 Published on September 17, 2020

Railways to get charges till work is done, then the re-developer

The Railways will soon start levying user-charges for redeveloping stations where it expects footfalls to increase, a top Railways official said.

“We expect footfalls to increase in 10-15 per cent of the 7,000 stations,” said Railway Board Chairman and CEO Vinod Yadav told a news conference on Thursday.

The Railways has embarked on several plans, including redeveloping stations, some of which are located on prime real estate. Some 50 stations are planned to be redeveloped over the next year.

These user-charges will accrue to the Railways till the station is redeveloped. After that, the charges will go to the redeveloper, according to Yadav. These funds will be used to modernise and develop the stations. This concept of making users pay in advance for a facility not developed was prevalent in the highways sector, but was amended.

No eligibility criteria

Gandhinagar and Habibganj railway stations, which are being re-developed, will be ready by December.

Soon, the bidding for New Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai will start. The technical eligibility criteria in terms of experience has been done away with for station development projects to attract investors.

NITI Aayog officials, who were part of the news conference, said that the Environment Ministry need not provide clearances for the station redevelopment projects in New Delhi and Mumbai. But the developers have to meet the Environment Ministry guidelines. Companies in the fray to redevelop the stations include the Adani Group, SNCF, Architect Hafeez Contractor, and JKB Infrastructure.

On private trains

On private operators being allowed to run trains, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who also addressed the press meet, said some of the most attractive routes are on offer. “We are not doing privatisation. This is just public-private partnership…,” said Kant, who is also the Chairman of the Group of Secretaries driving these projects.

This is being done to attract modern technology into India and this is how the Indian Railways can play a big role in promoting growth, he said, responding to concerns about the Railways meeting the fate of Air India if private operators are allowed to run trains.

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Published on September 17, 2020
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