Cabinet okays Rs 10,000-crore ‘futuristic’ revamp of three railway stations

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the long-awaited redevelopment of the New Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway stations at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.

Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the stations will be developed with futuristic design and user convenience at the fore, and the exact breakup of cost will be available once the tenders for these projects are floated in the next ten days.

The redevelopment of these stations will take 2-3.5 years as a framework has to be established to ensure there are no traffic congestion woes in these typically high-density areas.

“Master plan has been prepared for smooth movement of traffic, with adequate parking facilities,” the ministry of railways said.

The stations will be equipped with roof-top plazas, consisting of multiple amenities such as waiting areas, entertainment lounges, playing areas, food courts, and recreational facilities. Vaishnaw added that arrangements have been made to ensure that the livelihoods of millions of small business owners in and around the stations are protected after redevelopment.

Challenges are anticipated as the marquee revamping projects involve an overhaul in surrounding Infrastructure such as roads, existing buildings, and bus and metro stations. “A network of elevated roads will be developed to ensure smooth movement,” Vaishnaw added.

The redevelopment of CSMT, a Unesco World Heritage site, will be executed by building infrastructure around the station which complements its current design, without interference with the heritage aspect of the station.

However, shifting from its earlier stance, the ministry will no longer be looking at station redevelopment on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis, the minister said. “The three stations will be developed completely through budgetary means,” he added. The projects will be tendered out through the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) mode.

This comes after the ministry had earlier floated a tender for the redevelopment of CSMT under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) mode, a form of PPP. After the dissolution of Indian Railway Stations Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) last year, the tender was scrapped and the project was back to square one, setting the process back by a year.

Major infrastructure companies such as Adani Railways, GMR Highways, Godrej Properties and Oberoi Realty were in the running for the big-ticket project.

The development assumes significance with respect to the monetisation plans of the railways ministry, which is the second-highest contributor to the Centre’s Rs 6 trillion national monetisation pipeline. Half of the national transporters’ monetisation target is supposed to be met through railway station projects.

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