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Indian Railways eyes Rs. 50,000 crore for upgrading of 50 railway stations

official said, government is scheduled to grant 50 redevelopment stations with an investment of about Rs. 50,000 crore in 2020-21.

The Indian Railways station redevelopment project has attracted attention from Indian conglomerates and international pension funds alike.

Among the companies that have shown interest in the first batch of stations up for reconstruction were GMR, Adani Group, JKB Infra, Shapoorji Pallonji, Tata Realty, NIIF, ISquared Capital, Global Infrastructure Fund, Essel Group and Anchorage Capital.

Meanwhile, the railway ministry will issue user development fee, along the lines of a levy charged by airport operators, which will help fund the upgradation of railway stations.

Request for qualification (RFQ) for reconstruction of stations in Nagpur, Gwalior, Amritsar and Sabarmati, at an indicative cumulative cost of about Rs. 1,300 crore, has been invited by the Indian Railways Station Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC), one of the government bodies responsible for station reconstruction.

The government's thinktank, Niti Aayog, has pushed for a comprehensive plan that envisages a holistic development of the railway station sector, which has a strong potential for attracting private investment. Last year, between 2018 and 2030, the government pegged the Indian Railways private financing requirement at Rs. 50 lakh crore.

In October last year, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant wrote to VK Yadav, Chairman of the Railway Board, stating that there is a 'necessity' to take up the issue of building at least 50 stations on a priority basis, adding that the station reconstruction plan has been moving at a rather slow pace.

“We are hoping that all the 50 stations are bid out in the next year,” an official told. Such stations would need an average cost of redevelopment of Rs. 250 crore per station. The overall project cost will take the related commercial growth to Rs. 40,000-50,000 crore.

At a pre-offer meeting held in January, developers suggested that eligibility requirements be based on financial ability and that technological ability be eliminated. “Since most of the station redevelopment projects are brownfield, we will need to ensure that the contractor is capable of undertaking the work since it involves public safety,” the official quoted.

The reconstruction plan of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai at a cost of Rs. 1,500 crore, the official said, has already been approved by a group of secretaries formed to look into the station redevelopment project.



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