In­fra de­vel­op­ers to get rail­way land, airspace on 99-year lease

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Jy­otika Sood jy­

NEW DELHI: The Union cabi­net chaired by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Wed­nes­day ap­proved grant­ing long leases of up to 99 years for land and airspace in and around rail­way sta­tions to in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ers in lieu of sta­tion re­de­vel­op­ment.

Sev­eral big real es­tate firms such as Tata Realty, Shapoorji Pal­lonji, Re­liance In­fra­struc­ture, Larsen and Toubro, and Es­sel In­frapro­jects have been in­sist­ing on long leases for un­der­tak­ing sta­tion re­de­vel­op­ment.

Sta­tion re­de­vel­op­ment is one of the most am­bi­tious projects of the Modi gov­ern­ment, un­der which 400 A- and A1-class stat i ons are planned t o be re­vamped by mon­e­tiz­ing 2,700 acres of prime rail­way land. How­ever, the project has been fac­ing prob­lems be­cause of pol­icy flip-flops, and strict terms and con­di­tions.

The cabi­net on Wed­nes­day ap­proved eas­ing these terms, which in­clude mul­ti­ple sub­leas­ing and sim­pli­fied bid pro­ce­dures. The plan in­cludes leas­ing out the airspace above tracks to en­able de­vel­op­ers to build in­te­grated ho­tels, of­fice com­plexes and malls.

The set­ting up of world-class rail­way sta­tions was pro­posed in 2009-10 by then rail­way min­is­ter Ma­mataBan­er­jee. Ini­tial stud­ies were car­ried out in 2010, but it was only in 2015 that the project was re­vived by former rail­way min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu.

In­dian Rail­ways plan to de­velop the sta­tions as world­class tran­sit hubs, with a cen­tral con­course equipped with ameni­ties for pas­sen­gers. The sta­tions will be pow­ered by so­lar en­ergy, have mod­ern ameni­ties such as el­e­va­tors and es­ca­la­tors along with com­mer­cial spa­ces such as of­fice com­plexes and malls. The cabi­net also ap­proved In­dian Rail­way Sta­tions De­vel­op­ment Corp. Ltd (IRSDC) as the nodal and main project de­vel­op­ment agency.

Ac­cord­ing to the cabi­net de­ci­sion, IRSDC will pre­pare the over­all strate­gic plan and busi­ness plans for in­di­vid­ual or a group of sta­tions en­sur­ing cost neu­tral­ity of the pro­gramme. Once the busi­ness plans are ap­proved by the rail­way min­istry, IRSDC or other project de­vel­op­ment agen­cies will take up the work of sta­tion re­de­vel­op­ment.

Habib­ganj sta­tion in Bhopal, which is be­ing mon­i­tored by IRSDC, is al­ready un­der re­de­vel­op­ment. The project was backed by Bhopal-based Bansal Group, which got the project on land lease of 45 years.

The cabi­net also ap­proved Metro rail lines for Bhopal and In­dore in Mad­hya Pradesh. The cost of the In­dore Metro would be around ₹7,500 crore, while for Bhopal it would be ₹6,941 crore. The projects will be un­der­taken by the spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cle Mad­hya Pradesh Metro Rail Corp. Ltd.


Sta­tion re­de­vel­op­ment is a key gov­ern­ment project

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